“Versions” of Our Selves

Cambridge, MA, summer 2019

Dear Reader,

Life can be a wild ride. I am currently in the midst of what I would consider to be a hectic time in my life. About a year ago, I started working a few different jobs, which now consume roughly about 87.5% of my waking hours. This can get exhausting, however, I share a strong sense of camaraderie with my boyfriend, because he also works an absurd amount and I know that we both find what we each do to be worthwhile. However, because we work so much, it can be very interesting to compare our attitudes towards rest when we are not working.

I possess strong introverted tendencies. After a long day at work, I just need time to myself. Whether it is exercise, audiobooks, movies, baking, or whatever, as long as I have some time to myself it sounds like a good plan to me! My boyfriend on the other hand is squarely an extrovert. When he has some free time (and does not feel so inclined to fill it with more work) he’ll line up a few social engagements. It blows my mind sometimes that someone who has 8 meetings in a day would willing go out to dinner and drinks afterwards. We all say once and a while “we should meet up sometime” to a friend or a colleague. I usually say this to express my warmth and interest to someone, however, when my boyfriend says it, it’s a legit game plan. If my boyfriend says that he wants to meet up, I know that I can find “tentative meet-up dates” on his calendar.

Dancing in the square, Reykjavik, Iceland, summer 2019

I think about introverted and extraverted qualities now, because my boyfriend and I both had a long work week that has no visible end in sight. However, while I’m here on the couch in my pajamas blogging about my life, he’s out with friends and colleagues at a nice restaurant. It can feel kind of crazy to me at times. We are both given the same 24 hours; however, these hours are not equal for us. While I sit here and think and re-think about the words that I want to type, his brain is quickly processing conversations and creating dialogue to match. What he is doing, quite frankly, seems like too much of a mental workout after this endless week.

We humans are social creatures. We cannot survive alone. Solitary confinement in some parts is a form of torture. Yet, the world is filled with introverts, people who naturally recharge in the presence of just themselves. It can be hard to be an introvert in an extraverted world. In the U.S., we put so much emphasize in we. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’! Teamwork makes the dream work! While I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, I just know that if all my activities were collaborative projects, then I would not be a very happy human. I guess it’s all about balance. Even my very social boyfriend appreciates time to work on his projects in peace. Conversely, even I willingly accept dinner invitations every once in a (long) while.

The more I know and learn about myself through my reflections, the better I think I can help myself cope with stressors and pursue my own happiness. I know that our American culture tends towards extroversion. I’ve accepted that, however, I know that I don’t have to feel bad about turning down a social engagement. Again, it’s all about balance. My introverted self and my extraverted boyfriend, despite our different social outlooks, have found ways to meet both of our needs. Like I said earlier, my boyfriend is out with friends right now and I am at home on my computer. There’s no jealously, no resentment, no petty argument about how we don’t like the same things. We’re not the same, we’re just compatible! Maybe that is all we need, Dear Reader, we just need to figure out where and how we fit in.

Love,

Raven

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