I’m away a lot. You know when you read that in books something bad is about to happen. “They were married, but he was away a lot” = he’s going to start cheating on her during business trips, or she’s going to divorce his ass. “She was away a lot” = she’s flighty, unreliable, and likely to be fired soon because she can’t keep herself invested in the long-term commitments others find commonplace.
Leaving home often is a relatively new thing for me; until the past year or so, I’ve been tethered to a desk or stack of required reading for school, or I’ve simply defaulted to hunkering in my own house. There are 12 weekends in June, July, and August. I have been out of town for seven of them—and that’s not counting the weekends I was in town but had all-day obligations. I was home for two of 12 Saturdays.
Aside from missing my cat (and vice versa), I’ve found these trips to be mostly beneficial. I’ve visited new places and made many new memories with some wonderful friends. I’ve gotten closer to fulfilling my dreams.
Sometimes that’s difficult. Sometimes it feels like I curl up into a psychological fetal position when I am finally alone. But it’s not as hard as it used to be. Four years ago when I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), my result was INFP—the “classic” result of a hardcore introvert. I read once (maybe in the detailed explanation of my MBTI) that introverts are so labeled not because they “hate people” or they are “just soooo shy,” as commonly believed, but because they derive their energy from alone time, whereas extroverts get energy from social interaction and outside stimuli.
I haven’t done the MBTI recently, but I’d wager that my result would be dramatically different. I might even get labeled an extrovert these days. It’s a good thing I put very little stake in such assessments. Though friends and relatives frequently called me a “social butterfly” as a child, I have always put high emphasis and value on independence and alone time. It’s not my M.O. to initiate conversations with strangers, organize social activity, and look for ways to increase my involvement in social events.
I wrote the above paragraphs in late August and then abandoned this piece of writing without publishing it. I’m not really sure where I was headed with my points about extroversion and introversion, but in reading over the draft, I have to laugh. I feel like I know myself pretty well, am fairly introspective, etc. However — “It’s not my M.O. to initiate conversations with strangers, organize social activity, and look for ways to increase my involvement in social events.”
Maybe I was being facetious. Maybe I thought I could fool my audience of 2. Maybe it really didn’t occur to me that I was lying through my teeth or simply spewing complete and utter bullshit.
Maybe my point was that those things (talking to strangers, engaging in leadership, etc.) have become a huge part of my life, to the point where I have stopped second-guessing my enthusiasm for them; but that doesn’t mean they come naturally to me or feel comfortable.
Then again, MAYBE my conscious identity hasn’t caught up to what has become “natural” to me. After all, I just typed, “No, I don’t feel like I seek out ways to be more of a leader…” and read it back to myself at least seven times before I realized that’s simply not true.
When did I become… whatever I am now? An extrovert? A leader? A … *shudder* grown-up? Will the Myers-Briggs test tell me that? Do I want to know?
P.S. – The Flaming Lips are putting out an album of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band called With a Little Help From My Friends, and the version of “She’s Leaving Home” I included above is on that album. You can preview it (read: stream in its entirety) on NPR’s First Listen, here. I quite enjoyed the whole album and maybe I’ll do a more thorough review later.
Or maybe I’m still lying through my teeth / spewing utter bullshit.
Update 10/22/14: According to The Atlantic, extroverts and introverts have different types of faces. Wonder if my face will change if I fully transition from introvert to extrovert?