happiness project. week five.
I've been on hiatus from the noise of the internet and facebook for the past two weeks and I've enjoyed it immensely. Nothing is better than spending quality time with my kids. Being present for them. My days have been filled with having conversations with Skylar about the temperaments and personalities of each of us. Discovering that he and I are more alike (he's an introvert too) than I thought. Listening to music that he enjoys. Seeing him excited about learning and experimenting with a program to create electronic music. Hearing that he would like to take art in grade 11. Watching Ava perform - quite often, our living room is her stage and she asks us to sit in the audience (on the couch). Seeing her type and print words...which reminds me that she's going to be in kindergarten in September and then I end up feeling a bit sad about it. If I'm being completely honest, there are some days that I take advantage of the fact that I am with her every.single.day. I'm becoming more aware that the days are short and September really isn't that far away. So, I'm going to soak up every moment.
I turned 34 recently and so far 34 feels good! As each year passes I've noticed that I appreciate learning about myself so much more than the last. For quite a while, I've felt like something was wrong with me or that I'm not "normal". I thought I had some form of social anxiety. I didn't understand why everybody else seemed to enjoy socializing in noisy atmospheres, being out and about, going to get-togethers, etc. while I would rather stay at home, surrounded by calm and quiet. I ended up thinking I was weird in some way because I am the most "homebody" person I know. I knew that I adored my friends, so then why would I not want to go for lunch, go to Edmonton for the day, etc.? Why didn't the things others seemed to enjoy appeal to me? I was confused. I didn't understand why, when I speak, I seem to forget words. This happens to me a lot. I asked my mom and my sister if they noticed that when I talked to them that I pause and say ahh...what's the word? at least once every time I speak with them. They agreed that I have the blank-mind moment often. I noticed that I eat slower than everybody else and that I talk and react slowly. After experiencing a day trip to Edmonton, one of Skylar's hockey games, or being in a room with more than four people I feel exhausted, like I have a hangover. Brian and I will get invited to a get-together and I'll initially be excited about it and think it will be an opportunity to visit with friends, have adult conversation and get out of the house for a while - then I end up foreshadowing how I'll feel afterward and end up not going. Then, I'll feel guilty and embarrassed and fear that I come across as uncaring even though that's not the case. It bothers me that I never want to answer the phone - like I have a phone phobia or something. I became aware (this past year) that I think all.day.long; I have an ongoing dialogue with myself throughout the day. I often think I told somebody something when actually I have just thought it. The list goes on and on...
During my little hiatus I read The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. and it was fascinating to learn how an introvert brain works differently than an extrovert brain. I learned that dopamine plays an important part in which pathways introverts and extroverts use and how the pathways affect temperament and behavior. I had a few Aha! moments throughout the book! It was a huge relief to discover that I am in fact normal, I'm just a right-brained introvert. Everything I've been wondering about myself was answered in this book. I learned that introverts often feel as if something is wrong with them. And that there's a reason behind my blank-mind moments, "Often introverts have trouble finding the word they want when they're speaking out loud. Our brains use many different areas for speaking, reading, writing; therefore, information needs to flow freely between the separate areas. Word retrieval may be a problem for introverts because the information moves slowly. One cause of this is that we use long-term memory, so it takes longer and requires the right association (something that reminds us of the word) to reach back into our long-term memory to locate the exact word we want. If we are anxious, it may be even more difficult to find and articulate a word." The hangover I feel after a day out is common amongst introverts. "Noise, colors, music, new faces, familiar faces, eating, drinking, smells - everything can cause brain overload." Phone phobia is also common with introverts. Who knew?! I never thought of it this way, "It's an interruption that drains energy and requires losing internal focus, which you have to gain again; it requires expending energy for "on-the-feet-thinking"; it doesn't provide "innies" with Hap Hits. Introverts can have so many dips of energy during the day that they are not able to expend energy at the drop of a hat."
I highly recommend reading the book (even if you're an extrovert!). The differences between introverts and extroverts is very interesting. I also gained insight into parenting both an extrovert and an introvert child!