Sometimes we’re accused of being snobs or disliking society in general. “OK, just be that way! You’re antisocial!” We’ve all heard that when we say no thanks to the fourth lunch invitation that week or to yet another party with coworkers. Of course there’s nothing wrong with us, any more than there’s something wrong with someone who has a different blood type or hair color than the majority of a group. And of course we don’t necessarily dislike people, or most people… – we just can’t do everything everyone wants to do with us. We have to be selective.
When I go to my favorite restaurant for lunch, I usually have quite a pleasant dilemma because I really want this dish, yet I am sort of craving the taste of the other one… but everyone understands that I have to pick just one. The same is true for activities that involve other people, too, although everyone may not understand that! We have to prioritize and do the things that will matter most in our lives. It seems obvious, of course, but when we’re busy living life sometimes it’s easy to forget, just like I did over the past month while I became overwhelmed with Christmas and plumbing disasters at home.
I’ve finally reminded myself that I am going to have to deliberately allocate my precious time and energy so that I get the most “bang for my buck,” so to speak, and keep my life moving in the direction I want. If I look like crap when I don’t get my hair cut, then obviously I need to make an event on my Google calendar reminding me to get it trimmed every 6 weeks. Likewise, if I’m ashamed to have family and close friends over to my house, then it’s time to bite the bullet and have that maintenance done. Those are important to my quality of life now and in the future, so I’ll have to say no to some less important things in order to make them happen.
So what can I cut out? Well this past weekend a really nice coworker got married and invited our whole group. I like him very much and wish him well, but I knew that would be an energy-draining affair that no one would really care whether I attended or not – so I sent my regrets plus a nice gift. It felt great to do that, freeing up several hours of a treasured Saturday, plus avoiding the small talk hell of a wedding. Now of course if it were my sister getting married, I’d have to suck it up and go, or at least think of a bulletproof excuse!
Sometimes, like during Christmas time, we can’t seem to catch a break. There’s no avoiding the crowding and a lot of the craziness. So during those times, I’m still going to deliberately do the things that are important to the general quality of life, even when I’d prefer to have the good old routine instead. It’s just going to be a matter of self discipline, just like we all have to use in other areas of life, whether it’s saying no to another warm brownie or going to bed before we want to just because we know we want to be sharp the next day. I hope that since I’m learning to relax and just be myself, a normal, happy introvert, maybe those detours to the hair salon or to talk to a handyman won’t “cost” me so much and I might even learn to consider them just part of the bigger routine we call everyday life.
Photo credit: Jo Jakeman