Some days, I feel like a cave dweller, and others I feel like a contributing member of society. This is true at work and in my life in general.
At work, I can get so focused on a project that I look up from lunch and its eight o’clock in the evening. The light in my office turns off after 20 minutes or so, and it cannot see my fingers furiously typing, just my head staring at the screen—immobile and resolute. As a consequence, I often find myself working in the dark, too.
If you were to talk to Anna, she would tell you that the cave-dweller lighting is a personal favorite of mine, and I am not going to deny that I like a dark room as much as the next hermit.
I have had a particularly social week, with lunches every day with various people, and to my utter surprise, I am not burned out by it. As a consummate introvert, too much contact with other people used to drain me, and if they were the wrong people, I suppose it still would. Some switch has been flipped in me, and suddenly I can find myself enjoying being out with people…in moderate doses. Perhaps a switch flip is a bit too optimistic; it’s more like my extroversion dimmer has been turned up a few shades.
The irony is that I took this photograph on one of the mornings that Kemper did not want to come hike with me, and so I was alone. I had a very interesting internal monologue, in which I admitted that I missed the minion being with me, but I also found that I absolutely enjoyed being able to go at my own speed, without the lamentations of a six-year-old. I like my alone time, but I am like Goldilocks when it comes to being alone. I like it, but on my own unreasonable terms.
When Kemper, Nora, and Anna were down in Disney, I enjoyed the first couple hours, and then I became restless. I was, in fact, longing for human interaction. It was so unlike me. I ate at a barbeque restaurant in Ponte Vedra and chatted up the cook as I sat at the bar; I went to Trader Joe’s and Publix, and when I got home, I turned a baseball game on, just so the sound of voices resonated through the house in a paltry attempt at connection with people.
As I have become more comfortable with myself over the last four years, I have also become more comfortable with others. I still like my caves every once in a while, but more often now, I am willing to come into the light.