Last month I spent a week on the North channel of Lake Huron with 85 family members and old friends. By day three, I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. I’ve gotten more introverted as I’ve gotten older. I couldn’t deal with the number of social interactions.
I was upset. This was suppose to be my vacation. This was suppose to be relaxing and reinvigorating. I felt drained and felt like it was the extroverts fault. Why were they subjecting me to this? I felt like they were predators that pounced when I wasn’t expecting it. I felt like they were vampires that sucked me dry. I felt brittle, withered, helpless.
How could I turn this around? How could I get what I needed? No one was telling me what to do. What change could I make?
So day 4 of my vacation I made a plan. There was a room in the old rambling cabin that I was staying in that no one was using. After breakfast I packed up my laptop, my notebook and my book and headed for the empty room. I walked away from the people gathered on the front porch. I felt free. I spent the day writing.
My younger sister has always been very introverted and I watched the way she worked in this context. She knew where she could read her book and wouldn’t be interrupted. We had been going to this particular stretch of land with our family for a long time so she knew the best places for quiet.
And over the course of the week, I learned to take better care of myself. I spent most of my days alone in the empty room either reading or writing. I would be social at meals and in the evenings. I found the balance that worked for me.
I could have spent the whole week feeling like a victim and returned to work still tired but instead I took control. I learned that instead of seeing extroverts as “the enemy,” I could structure my days in a way left me feeling rested and rejuvenated.
And there are other parts of my life where I feel trampled on, but I am beginning to see it’s often because I’m not making choices that care for my needs. I want to commit to taking better care of myself.
That week I swam. I spent time with my family. I wrote. I read. I relaxed. And at the end of the week I felt rested and ready to face the challenges and joys of city living.
How can you structure your days so they leave you more rejuvenated?