Turns out I'm an introvert.
In recent months, after years spent claiming to be an extrovert - I'm friendly! I love being with people! I enjoy attention! - I came understand my orientation truly belongs with those quiet souls who crave time alone to recharge.
It seems so obvious now. Thinking back, I realize how crabby and/or checked out I become when surrounded by people for hours and days on end without a little time to rest and reflect. I lose myself and let autopilot take over. Perhaps I am good with people and fun to be around, but that only holds true when I've had adequate solitude. Of course, too much solitude proves unhealthy as well. I learned that in recent years, but that's another post all together.
Today, this relatively new self-awareness intervened and possibly saved me from destroying the week. As is my tendency, I plotted an overly ambitious agenda and began to fret about checking off each activity on my list in the next week - hiking, biking, horseback riding, attending a couple of bike races, dining at certain restaurants, going to some art galleries, touring the history museum - oh, AND attending my workshop and the festival events.
Today marked my second day immersed in the workshop and festival; it was our first critiquing work and holding one-on-ones with our instructor. Because I tend toward anxiety, I decided to alleviate a week's worth of it and offer up my piece for the first round.
My instructor and classmates provided encouraging feedback and useful suggestions that left me charged. The only thing I wanted to do following our morning session, one-on-one, and group lunch was start writing the rest of my book and going until it was complete. However, as I took my last bite of salad, I realized how quiet and anti-social I'd become. I couldn't focus on anyone else at the table. I didn't want to think of questions to ask or answers to theirs. I needed to leave. When I become sleepy, hungry or anxious, I'm a social wreck.
I excused myself, walked a mile back to my hotel, and napped for 4 hours. I woke up astonished and ashamed. On one hand, I missed out on some experiences this afternoon; on the other, I gave myself what I needed to function.
During the Fixed Gear Classic earlier this month, the constant adrenaline prevented me from sleeping. Following that, all my trip preparations and enthusiasm prevented me from sleeping. Then, travel messed with my sleep. I like sleep. I like myself better rested.
The sleep deprivation problems may not be an introvert thing, but the situation made me realize I have not allowed myself moments to recharge since orientation yesterday. I need to take breaks from the group every few hours. Within minutes of this realization, someone sent me an email with a link to a blog post about surviving as an introvert at conferences. Talk about the universe sending you what you need when you need it!
Tonight, I dined alone, read, wrote, and swam. Tomorrow, I shall allow for balance and the quiet time my introverted self needs to be the fully engaged people lover that also resides in her.