I heard someone say once that the people that are best at what they do are basically just repeating the same things over and over again. Let’s hope this is true for bloggers too because I feel like I’ve said all of this before and yet as I said it aloud in my car it all felt new enough to write down here.
I wasn’t talking aloud for lols but I was alone in my car after work and compelled (for the second week running) to record a podcast episode on the fly (on the voice notes app on my phone) because I wanted to make use of the motivation while I had it. This in itself is evidence of the topic I was talking about, I am incredibly motivated and enthusiastic when I leave work on a Monday afternoon. In the past I’ve put it down to my desire to be working on my own stuff when I’m doing my office job, to being over stimulated from all the caffeine and from the feeling of having ‘not enough time’ (which I talked about in this post last week) that always lights a fire under me.
I now realise that none of this is true, it’s the classic introvert/extrovert theory at work and I can’t believe it took me so long to identfy it. I was chatting to Ella (12) last week about how Lee (my husband, her step-dad) can seem surly on occasion because he’s introverted and needs time alone to re-energise when he’s overloaded on social interaction. This could be after a long day at work or even with the family but recognising that that is something he needs was really pivotal for our relationship (slinking off for ‘alone time’ can seem pretty passive aggressive when you think the person is mad at you) and so I was passing on the introvert/extrovert lesson to my pre-teen in the hope she would identify some of the traits in herself and her friends.. I think this and ‘resting bitch face’ (which in – hopefully – less offensive terms is what she’s been told she has) are important things to know about when you’re in secondary school.
Initially the conversation was about adults not being exempt from apologising when they’re out of line. This is a conversation I have frequently with both Ella and Milo (6) because kids are not the only ones who misplace their anger and we should all be willing to swallow our pride and admit when we behaved inappropriately. We were talking about Lee ‘seeming grumpy’ sometimes and I spoke about my opposite problem, obnoxious hyperactivity. I am very much an extrovert but I’m anxious around new people until we’ve been introduced and would never choose to attend an event/function alone. It’s a very annoying combination but one I think many of us suffer from. We love to be social but our minor social anxiety makes us second guess every interaction we have. I spoke at length about this in one of my more popular posts earlier this year and so many people reached out after that that I know it’s more common than you’d think. There are very few people who leave a social scenario feeling great so we should probably all just get over ourselves, shouldn’t we?*
But that’s not why I was jabbering away to myself in my car. I hadn‘t had an awkward encounter, I wasn‘t filled with self-doubt, I was giddy as a kipper and raring to get my words out. While on the topic of introverts feeling drained by social situations, I described to Ella the way I felt when surrounded by people and how different it was for me. I practically vibrate with excitement and after a while even I am irritated by how loud and interrupty I can be. I have had many out of body experiences where I just want to put a hand over my mouth and drag myself away from the bar out of embarrassment. I explained that on the flip side, extroverts feel drained of energy when they’re alone… and as I said it I realised I’d never really thought about that before. I do like alone time but that’s because I’m a Mum and so any time I’m on my own is time I’m not being asked 15000 questions about the many discrepancies between the different versions of Peter Pan we have seen and read. I also need to be on my own to work. Right now I’m using the 20 minutes before Lee brings Milo home to write this and I am waiting to hear the door go and for my time to be up. I never really considered that I didn’t like being alone because I do.. but it doesn‘t energise me.
I get the least work done when I have dedicated time, alone to do it. When I drop Milo off at school and get home to an empty living room (all but for the dog) and have nothing but time to work I am the least motivated to do it. As I was describing the difference to Ella I realised that this is the dark side of the extrovert! When I’ve spent a day at the office, surrounded by people I come home brimming with ideas and desperate to blog/film/record. I regularly come home with notes, scribbled on scrap paper ..in fact my whole podcast was conceived while I was working on something entirely non-bloggy at my office job and I decided ‘when I get home, I’m going to do it’. I’ve thought so many times that I seem like I’m ‘on something’ when I record on a Monday afternoon because my mind (and mouth) is going a mile a minute and I seem semi-unhinged but I am just so full of energy!! Extrovert energy!!
It’s such a frustrating personality trait and yet it is who I am. I feel like I’m constantly apologising for myself and the self-awareness is painful because I really can’t help myself.. besides which I actually like a lot of who I am – again, please see this post. Having identified the reason for my low energy days, however, I think I can now remedy them with a pretty quick routine. A chat on the phone with a friend, an instagram live, some kind of social interaction to start my day would be a game changer. It’s just such a strange thing to still be learning pretty massive things about myself at 32.. especially when they come out in what I will now refer to as a therapy session with my tween.
…right now Milo is asking what I’ve written because he ‘might be able to help’ me so I think that’s my cue to leave. He’s asked if I’m ‘really going to send this’ to my ‘work’ and if it’s ‘all just sentences’. How do you explain a blog to a 6 year old?
*I am referring to people who are anxious/nervous not people who suffer from an anxiety disorder