Thursday, October 4, 2018

I Suck at Sticking to Things, but I'm Good at Being a Social Introvert

So ... you remember that time I said, it's a new year! It's 5779! This is the year I blog every single day!

Yeah. That didn't happen. The thing is, when it takes 20 to 30 days to create and maintain a good habit, how do you get to that point to actually make the habit stick? Maybe I'm just not at a time in my life where it makes sense. By the time my brain has settled down even a little bit and I can start thinking about the things I want to write for the sake of my own verbal bliss, I'm usually in bed, too tired to sit up, and my brain just spins and spins and spins. The hamster runs at light speed when I'm supposed to be sleeping. I have the most amazing ideas, the most profound thoughts. And then I get really angry at myself because I don't have the energy to get up, get my computer, and put fingers to keyboard and make something happen.

So I'm not going to do resolutions or promises or commitments to do X every Y number of days. My husband kept asking me if I was going to start learning Daf Yomi, as I was so inspired by If All the Seas Were Ink, but I didn't. I can't. I won't. I don't have the time. I literally cannot pen in a specific time every day to make it happen. In my line of work, calls come up, people need things sporadically,  and I simply don't have the willpower to wake up at 5 a.m. every day before everyone is awake to commit to it.

Basically? I suck at resolutions. I blame being a mommy. Scratch. I blame it on being a working mommy.

When I was single and living in D.C. and then Chicago, I sat and went through the weekly Torah portion every single week like a gangster of gemara. I was good at it, I kept to it, it was my thing. I look back at that girl and think, "DAMN girl. You go. You go girl. You get your learn on."

So enough about my inability to stick to anything for more than five seconds, let's talk about me being a ridiculous introvert.

A few days ago I was standing at the local King Soopers in the self-checkout lane. I go to the self-checkout religiously (like, I'm better at sticking to my ability to self-checkout than to write) because it prevents me from having to engage with strangers. Even when I have a coupon or run into an error or need my ID checked, the interaction is non-verbal and quick. It's bearable. But when I was standing there on a Sunday and the store was busy and the self-checkout was packed, someone walked up to me and said, "I can help you on number 11, ma'am."

I was playing on my phone, and I froze. I had two options:

  • Tell the nice checkout guy that I was intentionally waiting in line and to leave me to my mobile device, pretty please. 
  • Take the nice checkout guy up on his offer and have to engage in conversation and awkward smiles and unwanted dialogue and ... my worst nightmare. 
The reality of having to explain that I was happy to be anti-social and wait in the line was too unbearable so I went through the guy's checkout lane and it was just as awkward and unwanted as I thought it would be. 

Thanks, but no thanks. 

But then there was the few days over the Jewish holiday season where we had guests over and it was wonderful. I was, undoubtedly, exhausted after people left, because that's what being social does to me. It drains every last ounce of energy and strength I have. But it was so nice, I remembered why I loved to host. During the year, we never host because our house is too tiny. But when we can move outside and into the sukkah, we have an actual dining room people! Space to have multiple people and families over. So we invited friends over, the kids played in the backyard, people spent all afternoon with us, and it was great. I fed people, I talked, I schmoozed. It felt good.

I'm an odd duck, honestly. I crave interaction and desire to be included in social activities and outings, but at the same time I do absolutely nothing to include myself or inject myself into the lives of my friends. 

I know there's a name for it -- social introversion -- but I also struggle with it making sense to people. Everyone says how great I get along with people and how social I am, but the physical and emotional toll it takes is what people don't see. 

So now we're back to the regular year where we're back inside our house and can't host anymore. I'm both relieved and disappointed. I wish we had the space to bring in friends every few weeks. Our kids love it. And sometimes, just sometimes, the mess their friends bring with them is worth it. Until next Sukkot ...