Sound the Retreat!

We returned home yesterday from a five-day trip to New York City.  It was a dazzling, chaotic whirlwind of lights, colors, and beautiful noise.  NYC always has been, and always will be, my favorite city.  It was a blissful, busy visit with much jostling amongst other tourists on the sidewalks and at the various attractions. There were good times at crowded bars with fun Irish bartenders and a trip across the river to New Jersey and a stadium full of rabid football fans on a cold Monday night. I would not change a minute of it (well, except the part where the Giants got pummeled by the Colts), but now that we are home I need a period of time that is the polar opposite from our time spent in the city. To use an old military term, I need to “sound the retreat”.

I love to be out and about exploring the world, but I do so knowing that it will take a toll on me.  A period spent traveling or in a flurry of social activity will leave me drained both mentally and physically. It will be followed by a time spent in the solitude necessary to recharge my batteries. I will require at least a few days at home reading, napping, and watching favorite movies.  I will need solitary moments spent walking in woods or sitting in stillness near the water.

I am not a social creature by nature.  I have never been the life of the party, and to my knowledge I have never been the center of attention in a social situation. I am likely to be the one quietly observing from the corner of the party.  I do well with small groups but flounder in larger settings. I can socialize or be out in the world for short periods of time, but I know that afterward there will be a fatigued recovery period during which I will seek quiet and aloneness.  Yet still I crave it- the noise and the lights, the laughter and the camaraderie.  I used to find excuses to decline invitations and to avoid trips and events, knowing that there would be a subsequent energy depletion.  As I began forcing myself to venture out I also began to realize that it’s worth the cost, the temporary lows left behind, for the rewards of friendship and frivolity.  So while I must now temporarily sound the retreat, rest assured that I will charge back into the fray before long, refreshed and ready to take on the world once again!

Tell me, are you an extrovert or an introvert?  Do you feed off of being social, or does it drain your energy?  How do you revitalize and recharge?

Does your energy feed off of this?

Does your energy feed off of this?

photo

Or this?

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28 thoughts on “Sound the Retreat!

  1. Sounds like a fun trip (I have passed through NYC but never actually stayed there — one day . . . ). If it is just my family traveling somewhere, the trip and the excitement of the new places energizes me. But, outside of my immediate family, I am like you, the quiet one observing others interact.

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  2. New York City Wow! My wife is just like you she loves it. I can honestly say our last visit there, two years ago, has made a lasting impression on me. I like the difference nationalities and fast pace. My mother loves it too.

    I’m one of those person who can fit in with most crowds. But I also enjoy my me time. I’m ok with being at home enjoying my family.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we move to New York because my wife has already started asking me where would I like to live when we retire. I know she’s just baiting me to ask her where would she like to live, but I already know it’s New York City so I don’t answer her. ..lol

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  3. I, too, just retreated to my home (very rural), after four days in Manhattan. I loved every minute of it. And I love being home again. I think it’s all about the balance, but for me it is more of a 70-30 split. With the weight falling on the home side. But, WOW! The buzz of Manhattan! It’s a great place to visit. 🙂

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  4. I love your post! And your photos are great….I agree that NYC is full of energy and it’s nice to find a place to retreat to when it gets too busy…I love living here and feed off of the buzz that is 24/7!
    But I do need some occasional relax time outside of the city (in wooded areas or at the beach)!
    Glad to have “met” you and hope you can come visit NYC soon again!
    Lia

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  5. Karen, as I was reading this I totally felt like I was reading something I wrote, because I am the exact same way. Even after being with great friends, or even family, I always enjoy coming home. I love the normal life. The everyday life is my comfort. I also love to vacation–NYC is exhilarating! But just for a short time. ☺ some good, normal home time with just my husband and son is what recharges me. Love this post and so glad you enjoyed your trip!! ☺

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  6. I am definitely in the introvert category! I was always shy when younger, and although I am more confident now, I still struggle in social situations, particularly if there are a lot of people. Similarly to you Karen, on a one-to – one basis or small groups I am fine. I like to recharge by cocooning myself at home with my little family.

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  7. I’m definitely an extrovert, but my training as an introvert has come from many years in the spotlight energized and full of life. I’m building confidence and becoming comfortable with being an introverted writer and most importantly, I’m loving this new lifestyle. I love the calmness that the introverted lifestyles has brought me.

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  8. You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. I used to wonder why I feel so worn out by travelling, concerts, sightseeing and cities in general but realised a few short days ago (and wrote about it) that I think my energy is being expended being surrounded by so many human souls. I definitely need time off after an intense experience like city traipsing or air travel. Must be an introvert

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    • Yes, I do believe you are. I worry that friends will misunderstand me when I say that being with them in social settings zaps my energy, but it is the truth. I read your post dated 11/01, and I can definitely relate. Your post “How to be a Social Dynamo. And Then Some.” was an interesting read. I don’t know if I would have made it past the five-minute staring part! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Best, Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds like a great trip! I’m so jealous!
    I find myself veering from one side of the scale to the other, with not much in between. On occasions when I’m feeling very social, I love it, I’m the biggest extrovert, unafraid to be the loud centre-of-attention. On the other hand I’m completely introverted, much rather sit at home away from the world or chill out quietly on my own and can’t think of anything I want to do less than go out and be sociable with people.
    I suppose I average out at a happy medium! ha. 🙂

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  10. I wrote a similar blog post about this just yesterday! I’m generally an extrovert, but I’ve been on auto-pilot for an extended period of time and am really feeling the consequences of that right now. Getting enough sleep is key for me, and I’ll be doing a bit of a lazy day to get recharged.

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  11. I found you on Michelle’s blog (Rubber Shoes…) where lots of fun people hang out. I like the name of your blog! I’m probably more extroverted but I definitely need the quiet. Walks, yoga really help me center myself.It’s all abut balance for me. I’m a Libra so I guess that makes sense.

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    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for coming by, I certainly appreciate it! Michelle’s blog is one of my favorites, and I’ve found several others through her posts. I’m over at your blog having a read now. Funny on yoga…when I first started adding it into my workout schedule I found it stressed me out to no end. I’ve stuck with it, and while I’m no yogi master I have found the relaxation in it. Best, Karen 🙂

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  12. Introvert. And I’m ok with that. We can’t all be the life of the party and the world has many visible extroverts already – by the very nature of their character. The introverts draw energy from within. There’s much wisdom and strength from that kind of living as well. I recharge by reading, cooking, cleaning. Spending half a day at a coffee shop.
    Thanks for sharing this fellow introvert.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Introvert, maybe a little of both. I fought being an introvert for most of my life. I don’t have a problem being in large crowds, plus I needed my friends and I am very active and always on the go. The problem I had was I would get very tired right before going out. It is very stressful. I know I will be fine once I get going, but it makes it very hard to get ready before we leave. The other thing is, the louder the atmosphere and larger the group; the quieter I get. The quieter the atmosphere and smaller the group; the more I come out and feel like the real me shines through. Now that I have learned how to embrace my B side I’m not so hard on myself.

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