I appreciated my friend Jocelyn’s recent post about how she and all my other introverted friends are reveling in the mandated time alone, and at home. I’ve seen no shortage of memes, videos, status updates, and the like that express similar sentiments. I understand and respect them!
Technically speaking I’m what is called an ambivert (first learned that term while reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking). I toggle between needing solitary “me time” and socializing with friends. Each has the potential to either recharge or drain me. When I’ve filled up on alone-time, then I venture out. When I’ve been out and about too much, I cocoon myself at home for a day or a weekend, whatever my self deems necessary for recovery.
Living in Turkey we are a little behind the rest of the world in this COVID-19 crisis. Our first official case was confirmed on March 11. We had our last day at school — I’m a high school librarian — on March 13. We then had one week of “spring break” (moved up by three weeks from early April) before we ventured into distance learning and teaching. This means we have, most of us, been staying at home for just over five weeks now. While Turkey placed a curfew on the young (under 20) and the elderly (65 and older) early on, the last two weekends saw most of the population under strict stay-at-home orders from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday. More weekends of the like are predicted, moving forward, for those of us living in the larger provinces.
I am thankful for the unique combination of restrictions the country has chosen. Whether they are good or strong enough, I can’t say. Selfishly I’m thankful to be able to walk seaside for one hour each morning, Monday through Friday. It feels almost euphoric to be able to stretch my legs, to smell the sea, and to feel uncaged and free. I know my body needs movement and that my spirit enjoys watching the sun rise on another day. But there is something else I crave more deeply.
While the introvert half of my self is fine with this time at home–she’s reading, writing, scanning those boxes of photos she’s been meaning to scan, being artistic, and watching some documentaries, the extrovert half of my self is screaming and bouncing off the walls! I can manage my exercise indoors and have plenty of food and entertainment options. I have creature comforts and know that there are people in discomfort or even dire circumstances. We each live our own reality and truth.
All that said, what I miss most is sharing in fun and merriment with my friends. Outside. I am doing plenty of video chats–with friends and family members around the globe and through various tools–but it is NOT THE SAME THING.
Yes, I can see you smile and hear you laugh and it is better than if we did not have these tools at our fingertips. But, I miss hugging people. I miss breaking bread and sharing wine at a table. I miss meeting new people. I miss giggling over silly stories. I miss people watching. I miss listening to live music at one of the many venues here in Izmir. Soon it will be swimming and boat trip season–meaning there will be more things to miss doing.
Some days I do just fine and the day passes quickly. Thankfully I have a furry feline to keep me company and a balcony upon which I can sunbathe in the afternoon and evenings.
Other days, I feel cagey and frustrated, pacing circles around my dining table. I long for my pre-COVID lifestyle, while I fully accept that when this storm has passed it will leave a new normal in its wake. No matter!! I will be grateful to explore that new landscape, whatever it may be, as it is obvious that being an ambivert is about ME choosing my side of the see-saw. I do not like having it mandated. However, I do respect the rules and the guidelines of this strange time.
All that said, I anxiously await the new normal and hope it knocks on my door sooner rather than later.
What about you? Any fellow ambiverts, or extroverts, out there who feel similarly? What are you most looking forward to when we can greet the new normal?