I is for Introvert

More than twenty years ago I took the meyers-briggs test. For some reason the result is one of those random bits my brain has retained through the years. I turned out to be an INTJ:  Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging.  Yup, that’s me, except for the introvert I thought.  I figured it was a mistake.

The introvert part surprised most of my friends too.  When I was is the military I was pretty social.  Alcohol helped (a lot).  I never thought again about being an introvert.  A few weeks ago I retook a version of the meyers-briggs test and I came up an INFJ. What?  Now the Thinking/Feeling aspect was close to fifty-fifty, but the Introvert was like 75%.  Hmmm.

I googled introvert characteristics.  All twenty-three were me!!

And then the penny dropped.  I am an introvert.  Duh! That explains so much about my choices, actions and reactions over the years.  So many things make sense now.

It has been a relief to realize I am not some sort of hermit or recluse wannabe.  Or maybe I am.  I am simply wired to not just enjoy solitude but need solitude.  Quietness has always been my friend. Sometimes I wonder if I am the last person in the world who can drive alone in the car without the radio on.

Inability to make small talk, hating large gatherings, feeling exhausted after the Guild meetings are just a few examples of my introvertedness.  All those family gatherings in my childhood where I took a book and found a quiet corner?  Ahhh.

So now that the fact that I am an introvert has penetrated to my conscious brain what does this mean?  How can I use this new found knowledge to improve my life?  Um.  I think “T” time has been a good start.  It has been a bit hit or miss these last weeks, maybe now I will keep it higher on the priority list.  Maybe when I am worried that my head is going to explode (thank you menopause) I can simply retreat to my office or bedroom and close the door.  Perhaps, after an over filled weekend I can do a retreat on Monday.  Ensure I spend quiet time alone working on one of my many projects. As much time as I need.

I know I will stop apologizing for wanting peace and quiet because it is not a want but a need. And my needs are important too.

What do you do to support your needs as an introvert?  Sometimes I wonder just how much I can retreat from the world and still remain a functioning part of my family and society. As with much of my life happiness seems to be about finding the right balance.  Right now I am going to go sit quietly for a few minutes and enjoy a spot of peace and quiet.  I hope you have a great Monday!!

 

Habits and “T Time”

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Random flower photo from my collection taken in the White Mountains (summer 2013)

Everything I read said it was best to incorporate one new habit at a time.  Your brain and willpower can only do so much at once.  I think it is a good concept and one I was planning to adhere to this year.  But here’s the thing, without any conscious effort some other habits on my list are being adopted during T Time.  It is so cool!

I have found that sitting in my quiet office  working on a needlepoint project is actually a form of meditation.  My breathing is slow and regular, my mind is blank, focus is on how many stitches of this color I need to do for this row.  It is very calming.  Unlike when I actually try and do meditation there is no wondering about how many minutes I have left or guiltily jerking my mind back from wandering and trying to concentrate on my breathing or some mantra.  The meditation just happens.  My brain enjoys the quiet rest.

The other positive thing is I have resumed walking on my treadmill while using my computer.  No pedometer keeping track of my steps, no goal of so much time.  Just a simple stroll while writing or reading blogs.

Officially for February I am concentrating on healthy eating.   I am tracking my sugar intake and once again avoiding wheat.  I have found the joint pain in my hands and shoulder has returned. The plan is to abstain from wheat for a week or two and if my hands feel better, then I will know for sure the culprit is wheat. I am pretty sure I have made this plan before and I am pretty sure wheat is the bad guy.  I guess I was hoping organic wheat would make a difference.  I don’t even want to think about giving up baked goods and bread forever.  For now I will just focus on the next two weeks.

But I am not going to complain about meditation and 10k steps a day sneaking their way into my routine.  It’s all good!

 

Two Weeks Later

I am now starting my third week of my new “me time” routine. After a lot of thinking I have decided to officially call it “T Time” for writing purposes.

I was actually rather nervous at the start of day one. I had no idea how things were going to work out.  Change is stressful, even good change. I had to talk myself out of waiting another week to start and pep talked myself into forging ahead.

Day one was…amazing! It was so relaxing being able to do things without constantly looking at the clock. I was able to go slow, stop and ponder, enjoy the sunshine. It was incredibly liberating.

Not perfect of course. I did do two loads of laundry. (I hang a lot of things outside so I can’t wait until late afternoon if I am going to take advantage of the Arizona winter sunshine.) At lunch time I had to sternly tell myself that unloading and reloading the dishwasher could wait until 2:00p. And so it waited and the world didn’t end!

And then real life happened and T Time got interrupted by preparations for a camping trip, a puppet show at school etc.  But to my surprise and delight I didn’t let T Time get cancelled altogether.  Postponed, rescheduled and skipped at times, but not gone.

I have learned a lot these last two weeks.  I learned that I really need this time to myself.  I am happier, calmer and less annoyed by small annoyances.  I learned that you can get a lot of housework done in 45 focused minutes.  I learned that it is okay to relax and be flexible and make stuff up as I go.

One day I found myself wondering what the rules for T Time were.  Did there have to be rules?  Maybe a few.  Could I watch television during T Time?  Yes, as long as it was something I really wanted to watch and I wasn’t just killing time flipping through the DVR list.  What about cooking  or baking.  Yes, if it was really something I wanted to do and not just prepping vegetables for dinner that could easily wait until after T Time.  Did I need to have a set routine?  No, but I do find it best to start my day in the office with some quiet time, thoughts about how to use my T Time and planning my to do list.

The best part of T Time?  It has made me a better parent.  I am calm and patient and my son is learning how to help clean up.  We have been working together, nicely.  It is so much better than the frustrated, yelling and still having to do all the cleaning up person I was before.  My son responds so much better to the calm.  And if he chooses not to help I sadly but firmly enforce the consequences.  Turns out he doesn’t mind helping Mom when she is so nice.

I am thrilled to be looking forward to this week filled with T Time, savoring it all the more because I know next week will be another tough week filled with interruptions.  Interruptions that I will be able to handle gracefully because my cup of solitude, peace and reflection will be filled to the brim from this week!