I spent the last few days of the year home alone in a cocoon of relaxed introversion and down time. I cooked tasty food for myself, read a lot, went for long walks, watched some movies… I also took the time over several sessions to journal about the past year. I wanted to take a step back and reflect on all that had happened, the difficulties of 2020 and its gifts, what I missed and what I learned. I found myself covering page after page with thoughts in my messy scrawl in ball-point pen, sometimes in dense paragraphs and others neat lists of bullet-points, with a generous sprinkling of smiley faces and a smattering of exclamation marks!
Afterwards, I started setting general intentions about how I want this new year to feel and I carefully began hatching plans for 2021. With no visibility on how this year will look, for now I am keeping concrete goals focused on things that are close to home and within my reach. However at the same time I’m contemplating bigger plans on the horizon for when the pandemic is behind us.
It’s a work in progress and I’ll be adding to it over the next weeks. I want to take the time to figure out what is really important to me so I make sure I’ve focussing on the right things. I feel excited about this year with a lot of curiosity at what will unfold in the next months and the unexpected possibilities that may surprise us. I wish you all a wonderful 2021 and thank you for dropping by regularly in this corner of the internet:)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #145
I’m back home, cheeks heated by the sun and heart warmed by all the lovely people who walked away from their schools, their jobs and their usual Friday activities to participate in the Global Climate Strike.
As an introvert, my natural tendency would be to stay at home, reading We are the weather (still on my to-read list!) and fretting about how to reduce the packaging around products I buy, rather than to join a large group of people. I don’t want to push myself too hard, but I know deep down that now it’s about being there, showing up even when it’s outside my comfort zone, that it takes every single one of us to make a movement that cannot be ignored. I am glad I went and so grateful there were so many people on Dam square today and to march alongside Paolo, as well as my friends and colleagues. I am stoked to see that all over the world people are getting together to shout a loud and resounding “ENOUGH!!”, the photos and videos from all over the planet are so inspiring!
(And now, after all this excitement, I will enjoy some down time to recharge my batteries before the next march;)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #139
Last weekend I got to spend quality time with one of my sisters and with different friends, people who I had seen recently and not so recently, catching up and talking about all sorts of things, enjoying good food and good talks about our lives, how the world is and how we’d like it to be…
As an introvert I find myself both drained and recharged from such interactions. Aferwards I feel tired and have a deep need to have time to myself, where I usually just potter around the flat, read, journal or do nothing, and basically in that quiet space I’m processing all we discussed and the emotions of being together. I feel deeply grateful to have such fun and inspiring people around me, who take me as I am, who I can laugh and be real with and who encourage me to step even deeper into what lights me up.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #96
Lately with Paolo we’ve started going to the theater quite regularly. It turns out that at the moment this is a good way to spend the evening, without using up too much energy since seeing a play is less draining to me than having a drink in a loud bar or going to a concert. Also, the story lines tend to unravel more slowly than in most movies, meaning there is more time for me to process the plot and emotions.
There is real inspiration in seeing people doing what they love and being vulnerable and creative on-stage. I also enjoy the discussions Paolo and I have afterwards, about our favorite characters and new thoughts triggered by the play. I look forward to what new shows we will discover together.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #83
I am deeply grateful for having every Friday off. Today I am alone at home, the appartment is completely quiet, there is nowhere I need to be. I am enjoying a cup of coffee and I can slowly come back to myself and process the many experiences that string together to form every ordinary week.
Usually in the morning on my day off my thoughts are a-flurry, then little by little they calm down and new channels seem to open in mind, unrelated topics start to come together and ideas that hadn’t properly been worked through take on a new meaning.
Working 4 days in a busy office and then being off for 3 days is for me a much better balance and I can really feel the difference. I feel like I have much more time to recharge as an introvert and that gives me space to do things that are important to me, and in the end that is what life is all about!
Fun things to do on a day off:
When I found out that I am an introvert (I think I was about 30), it was a real a-ha moment. I had so often wondered how other people managed to spend so much time in groups or hanging out with other people, when after a couple of hours of socialising the only thing I felt like was heading home to chill alone with a good book. I often felt like there was something wrong with me.
Basically being an introvert simply means that spending time with other people drains your energy, and spending time alone allows you to recharge your energy. It was such a relief to find out that I’m not flawed. Knowing that I am an introvert has helped me to just be myself, and also I’ve become much more conscious of protecting my downtime by myself so that I recharge and save my energy. The best comparison I read is that as an introvert you are like a computer battery, you have a certain amount of capacity to interact with others, but once it is empty you can’t be social again until you recharge.
It’s definitely a learning curve as I spent most of my life feeling like I constantly ‘should’ want to be more social. Nowadays I can recognise my physical need to relax in order to process a busy day at the office or a social weekend with friends. I am practising saying NO a lot more to invitations (a part of me often wants to go but if I feel another part of me pulling back and thinking ‘this is too much, I actually just want to chill’, I do my best to listen to that voice). I try not to make too many social plans, especially when I’m using a lot of energy at work. But I do actively plan time alone to recharge (going for walks, naps, journalling, reading or daydreaming:)
A wonderful book I would recommend (for both introverts and those around them) is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She writes really well on the common misunderstandings about introverts, how the world should pay more attention to them and how to carve space for yourself in our world as an introvert.