Work exhausts me. Not my body. My body can keep going after work, but my brain is completely wiped out. I don't have a very cerebral job, either. So, why am I so tired?
It's because I am 'on' at work. I am constantly talking, listening, understanding and trying to problem solve. I am aware of my surroundings and the people within it. These greetings and conversations, some small and uneventful, others deeper and more important, are draining for me. Don't be mistaken. I enjoy them. Well, for the most part I do, the particularly querulous bride I dealt with this morning certainly wasn't the highlight of my day. Still, I do love interacting with others. I genuinely am interested in the things they have to say, what is going on in their lives, and I appreciate the small glimpses I get into these people's existences.
But while I do like conversing and teasing and engaging with others, I am not equipped to do it all day, then go out and do it in the evening. Communicating with people doesn't energize me.
In fact, it does the opposite. It drains me.
At the beginning of the day, my battery is full and I am ready to tackle the next eight hours. But, as time passes, as I encounter more people, with each smile, greeting, telephone call, I become weaker. My energy gets used up. Until five o'clock comes around and I am mental-weary, dog-tired, and plum exhausted. At this point, I cannot fathom speaking to another living soul (except animals and the Sidekick). The idea alone of going out for dinner with colleagues or meeting up with friends for drinks is enough to send me to the brink of insanity. After a day of work, I am done. So, I toddle off home, where I can recharge myself for another day.
People often confuse this need to be alone, this desire for solitude and appreciation of quite as antisocial behaviour, or not being friendly. This isn't the case at all. There just needs to be a certain amount of mental preparation for me in order to socialize on my own time. It does happen. I DO go out, from time to time, but it isn't a daily, or even weekly occurrence. Why? A lot of it comes down to being aware of what I need in order to stay happy and healthy. Because I have to engage at work every single day, I know I must keep my evenings and most of my weekends to myself (and the Sidekick, who thankfully understands how I work-sorta, kinda, maybe).
On my own time, I turn myself off.
This is where it might get baffling for some people. I don't need to be at home to turn myself off. I can be many different places like the theatre, beach, or out in the forest. Anywhere I can be where I don't have to engage with others. Sometimes people walk by my yard when I am gardening and stop to chat. I have to turn myself on for these wandering souls, but it's okay, because I know they are going to go away eventually. For those five minutes I talk to them, I enjoy their company, but I relish the sight of them walking away.
For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me because of these behaviours. There isn't, though. I'm just introverted. It's hard for people to understand. How can someone who vlogs and blogs be an introvert? How can someone who is a receptionist be introverted? How can I go out and enjoy people's company and still call myself an introvert? Well, because I am one, and a lot people haven't a clue what being an introvert actually means.
What I am grateful for is friends and family who understand my ways and my need for downtime. I am lucky I don't have to be turned on with the Sidekick. He doesn't require me to engage with him. We have our life. Our routine. We chat and laugh and act stupid, but I can be 'off' while doing so. This is probably because he himself has introverted tendencies. I am happy I don't have to worry about what I say around him. Well, okay, I kind of do, because he is a Cancer, but for the most part, he doesn't mind the way I am.
And I don't mind the way I am either.
And this made me laugh.