An Extroverted Turtle
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle
Growing up, I was a painfully shy, classic introvert, who fit the stereotypical description of one who was in social situations, extremely reserved. Described by family and teachers as a “dreamer”, I preferred solitary activities like playing alone, reading, writing, listening, to music and so on. I was comfortable in my own company and dreaded the expectations required to talk in social situations or the cacophony of noise in large groups.
But I grew into and am described by friends and people who meet me, as an extrovert. Extroverts are social, enthusiastic, informal and talk easily with even strangers. During our shows, I get to engage with lots of people and have fun with the interactions. From the minute someone enters my booth, my energy soars with anticipation in meeting new people, hearing their stories and creating new bonds.
Yet what I’ve learned, is that my introvert persona still has a clear voice that needs to be heeded. After a hectic time like this weekend’s Hot Air Balloon Festival in Quechee Vermont. I absolutely need alone time; to pull in like a turtle, and regroup. My favorite activities continue to be quiet ones, often solitary, but sometimes shared with my husband or another person. When I exercise, I don’t like group classes, but prefer to swim, practice yoga or walk. Making jewelry, reading, writing, gardening, painting, birding, photography etc. all restore vital energy, necessary for my soul and well-being. Our camp and studio in northern Maine, is a balm to an often, over-stimulating world.
It’s taken me a lifetime to realize that you don’t have to be restricted by the definition of extrovert or introvert, but as Aristotle said, knowing yourself helps to define the choices we make to keep healthy and in balance. So today, I am looking forward to a banquet of quiet pursuits.