I haven’t been here much, certainly not like I had been.
Tonight I am tired. It has been a busy day with entirely too much social activity for my introverted self.
Church and pot-luck. Dinner with my mom. Carrying on two Facebook chats at once. It might not sound like much to the more socially minded. But it is for me.
And then my computer gave me a headache. It’s back in business now, though. A good reminder I need to make another back-up disc and a new off-site back-up.
So I am at home. And my children are tucked in their beds. Just me and the cats and the crickets. But go away anyways because I’m not here.
I worry how I’ll handle going back to school and if I end up having to move to accomplish it. All those new people. Whole classes and lecture halls full of them. And likely a new city, too. There is a branch university here and several on-line options as well. But I still suspect I’ll be moving 200 miles at some point in the next year.
I’ll be looking for a new homegroup, visiting dozens of new meetings.
I’ll be looking for a new church.
I’ll be getting the kids settled into new schools and meeting teachers and parents and classmates.
I know how I live probably looks lonely to a lot of people. I spend the vast majority of my time keeping company with my cats and house plants. But too many people is exhausting for me. And this is what I fear about making all these changes.
I love people. I’m not anti-social in any sense. I’m just filled up best by being alone or with a very select few friends. This is how I know someone is a real friend, if they don’t drain too much energy, if I can stand their company for 48 hours straight. Neither of my ex-husbands met this criteria. I suppose that pretty well explains too much.
And yes, 48 hours is about a maximum length of people-time for me. I’ve been known to wake up at 4am just to have a few hours All Alone. Of course, then my bio-rhythms are thrown off and I’m tired and cranky from being up too early. But it is still better than not having that critical me-time. Preferably I get plenty of me-time outside.
I’m so excited to get to go back to school. And in a week I’ll be getting ready for advising and orientation and registration. Summer term starts June 1. It’s almost here.
I’ll be taking all internet classes at first. And I can’t wait.
And I really do want the conversation and learning that happens IRL by taking in-person classes. I want to meet my classmates and have real people to talk to about interesting subjects.
But I’m scared. I don’t know yet what all this finishing a degree will entail for me. I’ll find that out in about 8 days. Until then I’m just guessing and researching options. And in the meantime trying to sort through stuff and simplify and take care of as much as I can so that however it goes I will be in the right direction.
I helped J clean her room yesterday. The annual sort through everything and move the furniture and really clean cleaning. I don’t have much time with my kids at home and not already busy so we took the chance while we had it. She’s ready to part with a lot of her toddler toys and books. So now there’s a huge pile to sort out for donating. Smart girl figured out if we give away picture books her shelf will have room for chapter books. We managed to unload a bag of them at church today.
It felt good to tackle a big project and actually get it done. But that was another kind of tired. Endless up and down and lift and sort. I’m still sore and I took a long bath.
I want to spend tomorrow just recharging and relaxing. But I got two rock chips in my new windshield today so I really need to go get those patched before they crack and spread. I have to go be a grown-up and get my business taken care of.
But I want to cocoon for a day. I love church and friends and family. I love good conversation and shared goals and connection.
But tonight I am over-stimulated and exhausted from it all. I know a pot-luck at a small church and dinner with my mom probably doesn’t seem like much. For me it is a lot. I just don’t process the sensory stimulation of group interactions very well. Fifty voices all talking and silverware clicking and kids to supervise is too much for me.
Even drinking m avoided bars and clubs and parties for the most part. This part of the Southwest is filled with casinos (no, I’m not in Nevada) and I can’t think of a worse hell. All the lights and noise and people. Not to mention the addict thing for any activity that can be done compulsively.
I’m not a loner because I hate people, on the contrary, I prefer one-on-one interactions because I really like people and want to be able to understand and process and connect.
In kindergarten there was a beanbag chair wedged into a three-sided corner made by a counter that didn’t quite reach the wall. The teacher called it time-out and used it to separate kids from the class for acting up. This was long enough ago that kindergarten was still only a half day affair. I regularly sent myself to time out. And often got sent for causing trouble. There were maybe 12 or 14 kids in the class. But even that was too much for me to cope with.
I learned over the years to go into a zone where I am single-minded and focus very specifically. It works for the most part. It’s allowed me to be quite successful in a variety of ventures. But it does mean that I am almost entirely oblivious to many of the social cues people take for granted.
Given time and gentle patience I will get accustomed to groups and noisy, busy places. I regularly attend a meeting with 50-80 boisterous and out-going people. It was torture at first. But now I even enjoy it for the most part. I just like to come home and soak up the silence afterward.
So I know I will adjust. I can do this. If I have to I will move that 200 miles and meet all those new people and explore all those new places.
But tonight, don’t come to my house. I’m listening to crickets.