This past weekend, Mel and I went to a local event held at Shawnee Prairie which is a nature preserve on the edge of our town. We’d never gone to Prairie Days before but I’d been told by others it was a fun and relaxing event. The weather was beautiful and having put in a lot of hours in front of the computer, Mel and I were ready for a break.
Being an introvert and struggling with other issues that keep me from venturing out into the public, I carefully choose the extra activities that I allow to consume my time and energy. Often, local events can be the most exhausting just from anticipating the possibility running into people I know. Way too much energy is put into analyzing what might happen. But that’s the way of an introvert.
Lots of expended energy. But I had a great time because:
- It wasn’t overcrowded. The prairie venue was large and vendors spread out.
- It was well organized with helpful volunteers and good signage.
- It was nostalgic.
Period demonstrators dressed in late 18th to early 19th century costumes cooked apple butter over open fires, baked bread in earthen ovens, and pressed apples to make fresh cider. I watched my first outdoor melodrama while sipping an apple cider slushie. The weather was a perfect sunny 70 degrees.
Waiting for the play, I turned to Mel, “I feel like I slipped into a Hallmark movie.”
“Too bad my hero is 3600 miles away,” she said.
This pushed us into a discussion about future hopes and dreams. Which led me to wonder if introverts tend to be more nostalgic than extroverts. Is that why I preferred to people-watch than jump in the queue of candle makers circling a table dipping a string in various tin cans of wax. I told Mel a story of how I did that once in third grade for a Mother’s Day project.
At the sorghum venue, I told Mel about the year my step-dad grew sorghum. We helped harvest it then watched as it cooked down into a syrup. At the pork rind venue, I told Mel about the year we butchered a pig and Mom made cracklins. (If you’re not sure what cracklins are, here’s an article.
Mel wasn’t big on eating pig fat, so we bought kettle corn instead). As these memories came alive, Mel and I preferred to talk about the experiences rather than participate. Why was that?
According to this article on ideapod.com Introverts:
- Are Deep Thinkers.
- Analyze Experiences by looking at past and future experiences.
- Look at Multiple Perspectives by observing people and social situations.
- Are Naturally empathetic.
No wonder introverts are exhausted. Going out for the day is equivalent to a full day of work—thinking, analyzing, accommodating/compromising.
Experiencing life in this way is a blessing and a curse. While going out may be exhausting, events can be enriched by sharing memories and participating in nostalgic conversations about the future. The trick is to dwell on the positive, recall what is pleasant … and leave early.
The negative memories will always be there. One doesn’t butcher hogs and weed endless rows of sorghum without them, but that’s not what I choose to remember. Those thoughts are unproductive, and being an introvert is hard enough without adding to it.
“Introverts are collectors of thoughts, and solitude is where the collection is curated and rearranged to make sense of the present and future.” —Laurie A. Helgoe.
Are you an introvert? Do you become nostalgic at times? Do you tend to analyze and overthink situations? How about this past weekend … did you venture out? I’d love to hear about it.