Friday, February 21, 2014

The Introverted Athlete

Maybe a month or so ago, a Facebook friend posted a link and a note about a book he had recently read. The book was about introverts. Who they are, and how they function in a world made for extroverts. (I think it was, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.) 

I had never really given it much thought...whether I was an introvert or not. If I take personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs, I never trust my answers. Am I answering completely honestly or am I answering like the person I wish I was? But that Facebook post intrigued me. So, I did a quick online search and found this Huffington Post article: 23 Signs You're Secretly an Introvert

Holy cow!

The article may not be exactly "scientific," but it describes me nearly perfectly.
"People are frequently unaware that they’re introverts -– especially if they’re not shy -- because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone. Instead, it can be more instructive to pay attention to whether they're losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure."
I don't consider myself shy. I think that people who don't know me do consider me aloof, but usually I'm fine with approaching others, talking to people, socializing (a bit). I love my family and friends. I enjoy meeting and getting to know new people. But, in the end, people wear me out.

It explains so much. Why I loved working from home for so many years, and why when I did work in an office setting, my coworkers often didn't even know I was there. And it's not that I'm claustrophobic; it's that I need to know I can get "out" if I need to. I am horrible about the phone. I don't answer it, and I don't call friends or even family very often. (I would much rather text.) 

"Most introverts need to think first and talk later." Please don't ask me what I'm thinking and expect an articulate answer. Not happening.

"You're a writer." 

Yep.

"Many introverted children come to believe there is something 'wrong' with them."

And therein lies the rub. For nigh these 50 years, I have thought that I needed to change my personality. That how I am is, somehow, wrong and not socially acceptable. 

(I am a little concerned that the American Psychiatric Association has considered classifying the introverted personality a disorder, however...)

Despite it, though, I am and have been pretty successful. I had a strong and enduring marriage...better than most people I know. I managed to establish a successful and lucrative "first" career. My "second" career seems to be gaining some legs, and I am finding a good amount of satisfaction in what I'm doing. 

I cried a little when I read this article.

No longer will I apologize for who I am and how I am. 

What you see is what you get. And if you give me the room and the time, I think you might find I'm not such a bad person after all.