Don’t Panic

I’m an anxious person. I don’t do well being away from home for long periods of time, and especially hate when that away is somewhere with a big, loud crowd.

(Would it surprise you to learn my New Year’s Eve was spent at home playing board games? WITH FRIENDS, of course. I do have friends.)

But here’s the thing: I haven’t always been this anxious. In fact, there was a time not too long ago where I didn’t even know what anxiety entailed. I’d mistake it for excitement and throw around “OMG I’m so anxious!” on the reg.

So young. So naive.

In my first post, I mentioned the hope that this blog will act as an outlet for me to better articulate my experiences. What I really meant was, I’ve found myself retreating further and further into this weird, hermity shell, and it’s high time I pull myself out.

I’m becoming more introverted with age and I do not like it. At first, I was totally fine opting for sweats and Netflix over hours spent getting ready for overpriced drinks downtown. Then it kind of became a trend and people made funny memes, but the more memes I saw, the more I realized it’s not that funny?

We’re not experiencing anything.

Five or six years ago, FOMO drove me to do just about everything my friends were doing. It was awesome. Exhausting, but awesome.

Smart phones weren’t the norm! Can you imagine? We actually spent time interacting with one another, having real conversations and taking pictures for the sake of remembering each experience – not because Instagram demanded them.

209062_1712340491309_2670491_o
My favorite filter is VegasNightclubSmokeMachine.

It’s hard to pinpoint when the introversion set in, but if I had to guess, it’s probably when paychecks started going toward real bills, my relationship was deemed serious, and we became responsible for two dogs.

In no way am I blaming any of the above for this rising unsettlement. I’m beyond grateful for the expendable income, a boyfriend I’m still not sure I deserve, and two pups whose days begin and end licking every square inch of my feet, face and hands. (They seriously love feet, it’s so weird.)

Really, my dissatisfaction is the result of me not willing to put in the time and energy to balance. I sit idly by, fully convinced all scheduled activity over a given week will exhaust me by Friday night and shoot down actual weekend plans, not doing a damn thing to reprioritize, reenergize and really experience life.

Now I’m calling myself out. Not as a resolution – though the timing does conveniently coincide with the new year – but as a challenge. My 20s are almost over (GROSS) and I’d really like something to show for ’em.

So, whaddya say? Wanna socialize?

—-

Title Credit: Coldplay

11 Comments

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  1. Caitlin Mahoney January 3, 2017 — 8:55 am

    YES. I dare you to come to STL and visit. Double dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this, I felt like it was me writing this blog. I had no idea we were pretty much the same person. I struggle with all the above. Big time. I am a total homebody…netflix, food and my dog any day every day lol. I am looking forward to reading more. You’ve intrigued me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. YOU HAVE A BLOG!!! Omg I love it!!!! You’re so awesome with words, can’t wait to keep reading more posts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am the same way. It’s so spot on I could’ve written it myself (but you did because you are you and you are better at writing than me, we both know this).

    I’ve been taking steps to repair some of that introversion damage: not flaking on plans the day of after I’ve made them, I follow through, regardless. I make plans at least once per month with a friend after work and stop thinking about the hour drive (oh that drive, how I used you for a crutch for far too long). And now I’m going to try my damnedest to get out of the house one weekend a month to do things because I’m literally turning the internet OFF.

    If anyone can pull themselves out of it you can!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good Stuff Al. I’m trying to keep up on the blogging also. I’ll be sure to continue following!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First off, I commend you for putting these thoughts down and even going as far as sharing them; that takes some guts. I’ll chime in with some thoughts and reflections since I went through this in my mid-20s as well, and I hope at least some of it is useful to you!

    I see introversion as a position along a spectrum describing how we spend and draw emotional energy. Some describe it as “drawing energy from breadth or depth of social interactions”–others as quantity vs quality. For some, meeting lots of new people in one evening and moving from experience to experience fills them up. For others, the thought of engaging deeply with one to five people as terrifying. As it is a spectrum, I do think people change as they age and learn more about how they value their time. Moreover, some introverted people like an occasional rager and some extroverts need a night in with a book.

    I learned after moving to Seattle that I’m more introverted than I knew. I could only guess, but anxiety you describes reminds me of getting so stressed and burned out that I checked myself into urgent care with chest pains because I didn’t know what a panic attack was supposed to feel like. Humans have finite emotional and physical energy, and self care is a real thing because the opposite is also very real. I couldn’t do self care until I learned what fills me up and what drains me.

    It didn’t help that UNL and most of my startup experience was really geared for extroverts. Think about who signs up to plan most social activities, student events, host a party, and so on. The same was true at pretty much every startup I’ve worked at. I couldn’t figure out how to explain I didn’t resent my colleagues but I wasn’t as excited about forced yoga before meetings or spending more time drinking with my coworkers than with my family.

    Moreover, I also remember feeling like I didn’t have many friends in Lincoln who just wanted to do something smaller and quieter than O street. Hell, I even remember certain friends telling me I was weird/creeper/boring for asking for that, but I also had a tendency to make shitty friends. The alternatives felt like going out or being alone with nothing in between, and I often chose the latter by my senior year. The truth is that there were definitely things in the middle, but I didn’t know how to make those kinds of friends yet and I didn’t know how to be comfortable and healthy alone yet.

    Here’s what I learned introversion is not: shy, agoraphobic, lazy, unfriendly, antisocial, or boring. Those are all different things and need different attention. Being an introvert for me looks more like planning time more wisely, feeling confident enough about saying “no” when that’s the healthy decision, and being intentional and mindful about pursuing social activities that are life-giving. That last point is really important because it’s on you to pursue things that fill you up as often as you say no to things that don’t serve you. It actually sounds like the “balance” you described in your post.

    I’m curious about what it is you don’t like when you say you’re feeling more introverted. If that’s just how you are, then there is shouldn’t be any shame in it! But it might require more self-awareness, transparency, and work on your part, and it might require your friends and loved ones to embrace and support you in what fills you up.

    I only say that because I remember it took some courage and honesty on my part to stop pretending to value things that just made me tired.

    This is on my reading list and I haven’t gotten to it yet, but you may enjoy it too: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004J4WNL2/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    I hope ANY of that was relevant to you and not just rambling. Thanks again for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the biggest reason I’m less comfortable with a quieter lifestyle is the simple fact that I don’t feel as fulfilled as what you described. I almost get just as much anxiety wondering what I should be doing instead of hunkering down at home. Like you mentioned, it’s definitely something I have to work on from the inside – why doesn’t that fulfill me and is going out the right alternative? Or is there a happier medium I have yet to find?

      It wasn’t rambling at all! I appreciate you taking the time share your own experiences! It helps to know I’m not solo in these thoughts. So glad you found the right spot on that spectrum 🙂

      Like

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