Driving on Empty

So, it’s a strange thing.  I’m an extreme extrovert.  By extreme, I mean OFF the scale on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, if you’re familiar with that.  If you’re not … well then I mean OFF the scale like you’d be if you just ate a pound of brownies.   😉   Off.  The.  Scale.

Something that a lot of people don’t know about extroverts:  they actually NEED alone time.  In fact, some of them crave it quite regularly.  Just because you’re extroverted doesn’t mean you wish to be in the company of people all the time.  In fact, it’s usually an indicator of how you like to solve life’s problems  … extroverts like to talk out solutions to problems before settling on one … rather than an indicator of how social you are.

That being said, I’m HIGHLY social and HIGHLY extroverted.  What does that mean?  That means I  like people.  A LOT.  I fill my cup, so to speak, by connecting with people.

Until yesterday.  My family had a busy weekend.  Well … this last weekend was actually the culmination of a busy month.  In addition to just “regular life,” there were end of school events for the girls, family obligations, birthday parties for kids and adults, my 20th high school reunion … come Monday it took all the effort I had not to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling fan for a full 24 hours.

I mustered up energy to get our oldest to swim practice.  Then back home to do … nothing.  My husband kept asking me, “Are you sure you’re alright?”  A sure sign that I am NOT acting like myself.

The kids wanted to go back to the pool.  *Sigh*  There was nothing I wanted to do LESS than go back to the pool.  I knew a thunderstorm was coming so we went around 2 pm … hoping that distant thunder would get me “released” from pool duty before 3 p.m.  Don’t judge.  It worked.

I even tried to get a run in because that usually brings me out of a funk.

No luck.

I finally realize … I’m done.  I’m empty.  I wasn’t tired (although I did sleep).  I was DRAINED.  For the first time ever, I was a husk.  Hollow.  Unable to sustain an emotion beyond “MEH.”

So we went to bed early and I thought, “Tomorrow we will do nothing.”  Instead, I loaded up my girls and took them to a lavender farm to pick flowers.  The quiet drive (thank you iPads for keeping girls quiet on a car ride and thank you to my parents for being ridiculously generous enough to provide said iPads), the smell of flowers, random wild life in the form of butterflies, bees and bunnies and spending some quality time with my girls …

It’s like magic.  Being outside.  Being quiet.  Being with my kids.  Just being.  And, all of a sudden I’m feeling much more full than yesterday.

So, perhaps the lesson here is not that we must constantly be seeking connection in order to “refill our cups.”  That’s been a theme I’ve seen a lot lately … that in our digital age we need more face-to-face time, more “real” contact with “real” people.  And while I don’t think that’s wrong …  I now believe that there comes a time, for everyone, when enough is just enough.

In the past month I’ve witnessed more and more people unplugging from our constant contact society in order to find that time to recharge.  Saying NO to Facebook, NO to cell phones, NO to social events, NO to anything other than living and breathing.  I have to admit, I thought to myself, “Not me.  I need people to thrive.”

Well, guess I was wrong.  And I just love being wrong because it gives me time to find out what’s right.  And what’s right is that, apparently, even highly sociable extroverts need time to disconnect.  And that’s ok.  In fact, it’s divine.

So, next time you find yourself driving on empty, find a day, an hour, a TIME to break from your routine.  Break from your constant companions (whether they are digital or in person) and find the time to reset your soul.  You will thank you.

 

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