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?