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Accepting My Preferences and Being an Introvert

I’m not a fan of labels. I think the internet has skewed them for me, because everyone ends up listing off what they are and that just seems to divide us more than anything else. I realize the importance of putting a face to a label, but it’s just not my preference.

One such label is introvert. Once a bad word, it’s seemingly more accepted online (well… at least the circles I run in, so maybe that says something?) and if I had to choose, I would say I’m an introvert as well.

It’s odd, because I come from a family of extroverts and I’m not someone so introverted I can’t function in society or am terrified to speak. I’m just no fun at parties, not a fan of phone calls, and I’ll probably remain quiet unless you approach me first. My small talk game is non-existent until I get to know you.

Oddly enough, if you put in me a situation where I’m comfortable, I’ll probably over-talk (or maybe over-blog ). It’s interesting, because my wife is more of an extrovert, but she gets extremely nervous to public speak (despite being amazing at it). I, however, never had that problem. See, I won’t walk up to a stranger and start a conversation, but if I know people are in attendance to hear me speak, whether that’s making an announcement to a crowd or giving a speech, I’m not nervous at all. They are there to hear me, so why should I be nervous?

It’s funny how the brain works.

Nevertheless, part of my other problem with labels tends to be the victimization of them. It’s almost like some folks grab onto a label, stamp victim on themselves, and use that as an excuse. I’m not a fan of that, but I know I’ve done it myself. Years ago, when the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain came out, I saw myself as a disenfranchised victim of society and I don’t know, I guess I expected special treatment. It was ridiculous and short lived, but once I realized I was using being an introvert as an excuse, I knew that was not how I wanted to live my life. I wasn’t mistreated and didn’t deserve any special treatment, I just lived in a world that wasn’t really set up for someone like me.

Over the years, I’ve fought it. It seems like once a year, I’ll proclaim I’m going to get together with friends once a month. I’ve even tried it a few times, and it never lasts long. Things run too long, I get worn out, and I end up regretting my time spent. I think with the right people, that wouldn’t be an issue but with my friend circle locally it just isn’t a great fit.

But I’d force myself into situations like that, or going to do events, because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I should like going to a concert right? It’s fun, its music, I should love it. So, what if I don’t like having a ton of people around me. So, what if I hate drunk people. Suck it up, be normal.

But after years of that sort of abuse, I think I’ve finally accepted that’s just not me. I’ve taken a step back and asked myself, “Is this really something I enjoy?” “Is this really something I want to do?” and at the end of the day, the answer is usually no. (See Friday’s post: Ticket Regret)

When I look at going out to places, I take into consideration all the factors. What is the time commitment including driving to and from? What is the cost? What is the parking situation? Are the seats comfortable or am I going to be crowded? Basically, I look at all the things that are important to me, and rarely do things make me say, “Yeah, that’s worth it.”

“But, Brandon, aren’t you missing out on so many great adventures!”

Am I, really? I’ve been to a few dozen hockey games in my life, do I really need to go again? Especially when the parking for the Hurricanes is $40 and the cheap corner seats are tiny. Do I really remember any of those games I went to? Nope. Outside of a drunk guy trying to fight me for wearing a Predators hat, I really don’t remember much about any of them. Definitely not life changing.

You can change out hockey with a variety of activities including traveling. My life and happiness are not dependent on outside events to make me feel alive. In fact, I almost wonder if you need to travel to feel joy, how joyless is your home? What are you running from?

I’m rambling. I guess, it’s taken me forty years, but I’m beginning to accept who I am and what I like. It may not be the most popular decisions and it makes for a very boring social media account, but that’s okay. I’m just going to sit in this overpriced apartment, with the air conditioner at my perfect temperature, sipping my Diet Pepsi, playing Xbox with a kitty in my lap. Life ain’t so bad staying in. Life ain’t so bad as an introvert.

Published in#WeblogPoMo2024

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