Friday, February 26, 2010


I had an interesting experience at work once.  (Not in my current job, so I'll talk about it.)  An "expert" in the Meyers-Briggs personality types came to our workplace and talked about the different personality types.  It was interesting.  Then she gave us the test, and I began to get nervous.

It was my first day on a new job, you see, and I didn't know anyone.  The expert had talked to us for a good two hours about the difference between introverts and extroverts, and I already knew which one I was.  Next thing I knew, just as I feared, the room was divided with the extroverts (95%) on one side, and the introverts (myself and two other people) on the other.

Welcome! that said to me.  Especially the other music teacher, who walked over to me during the break and said, "You're an introvert?  You really chose the wrong job!  Ha, ha!"  Hilarious.

The one good thing that came from that day was that it explained to me why I had always been so "anti-social," "unfriendly," "withdrawn," "shy," or any other number of negative adjectives.  It's just who I am.  Introverts have to have time alone, or they become completely exhausted.  They have to have time to "recharge" because they find being around other people draining, to the point that they can experience physical symptoms.

Before I had children, "alone time" was the majority of my day.  I read, watched television, or slept a good bit of the time I wasn't working.  Sven was around, and the cat didn't count, but I really got all of the alone time I could want.

Even for me, though, it got to be too much.  It got to the point that I jealously guarded my "nothing" time; if I found out, for instance, that I had to be at an appointment that would take 45 minutes, I would be resentful of the 1-1.5 hours of "nothing" (literally, nothing other than reading or watching TV) that I would miss.  I turned down things, actual things that might have helped me or others, to do nothing.  Nothing became more important to me than anything.  I worked very hard at doing nothing.

Then came the children.  I have almost no "nothing time" anymore, and I can look back on those days with real regret.  How much time did I waste?  I now know my introversion was no excuse; I am tired, yes, and sometimes long for some peace and quiet, but I get along just fine with very little "nothing time."  I make sure to get up extra early every day so I can have some quiet time to myself (anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the children), and I snatch a few minutes here and there.  But I'm much happier now that most of my time is filled with "something" rather than "nothing."

Specifically, two somethings who always give me sticky pats and moist kisses and tight-to-the-point-of-painful hugs.  It's awesome.  And I completely mean that.


Barbaloot said...

I so get you on the nothing time! I'm an introvert all the way and being alone is something I really enjoy.

Kristina P. said...

I am so excited for tomorrow, a giant day of nothing time. I have nowhere to be, Adam will be out of time, and I am going to value it.

Mummy McTavish said...

I used to love it when they did those things in highschool and they said "put your hand up if you think you are an extrovert" and most of the class is trying to reach higher than the others and there's noise and chaos... "put your hand up if you think you're an introvert" and you could be mistaken for thinking no one raised their hand because the last thing myself and the only other introvert in the class want to do is put our hands up and be seen.

I do crave nothing time but I can't have more than a few minutes before I start thinking about what I'll do with them when the boys get home/wake up... they are addictive.

Boy Mom said...

This was a sweet post. I love the those tight-to the-point-of-painful hugs.

Kristina P. said...

Hey, guess what?!?! You actually won TWO tickets to the CBC. Elisa emailed me. Hope you can bring a friend!

TheOneTrueSue said...

I DO miss nothing time. Oh so very much.

I love my kids but OY. OY, I SAY.

Joanna said...

Introverts of the world, unite! Separately, that is.

Debbie said...

I love alone time. I'm not an introvert but I am an only child and I think it is held over from my youth:)