Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Struggle...

Believe it or not, I'm not an optimist.  

I know that's hard to believe, especially with all the "Pollyanna-like" posts of late, but I'm not.  

I have a very hard time "looking on the bright side" or "finding the silver lining."  I've been told/advised to do that for my entire life....but it just doesn't come naturally to me.  I don't see a glass as being half-full, but I see it as half-empty.......and then I beat myself up for days about not being able to see the half-full glass and instead focusing on the negative/empty part.  It's a vicious cycle.

Moves = adjustments, though, and I've been really consciously trying to change my mindset since moving to the desert.  For the most part, it's worked.  I've been able to be the member of the family who finds the good in everything, or finds the little bit of positive, and stretches it out for everyone to see.  For the most part, I've been able to retrain my natural inclination of pessimism into being the optimist that my family needs me to be as we adjust to living so far away from family, in a completely different environment, with different stresses and pressures.  

Until last night.

You also have to realize that I'm an introvert.  I'm not shy, but I'm an introvert.  There is a difference.  Being around people doesn't infuse me with fear or anxiety....but it does completely overwhelm and exhaust me.  I'd much prefer to stay home with my family - or even just a few friends - than be in a social situation.  Some people relax by going out, seeing a show, going to dinner, getting together with friends......that completely drains me.  Relaxing, for me, is staying home with a good book.   It's not that I don't like being around other people or even friends....but it's physically difficult for me to do often.

So back to yesterday.

As an introvert, my Wednesdays are usually really difficult days.  (and are also why at 10 am on a Thursday morning, we're all still in pajamas and haven't done a darn thing yet - these are recover days for me).  Wednesdays include a 3 hour long book group/playdate in the morning, trying to squeeze school into a couple of hours right after lunch, and then religious education for the big boys and grocery shopping for me and the littlest one.  It may not seem like much to anyone else, but it means that I typically have a 10 hour day of constant human interaction -the majority of it being outside my home - with no down time.  Now, I did bring this all onto myself.  I could easily drop the book club....but as I enjoy being there, I haven't yet.  It may be hard for a non-introvert to understand, but I do enjoy each of these outings....I'm just exhausted, mentally and physically, by the time we get back home.  There is a difference, believe it or not.  On "regular" days, I can offset any social gatherings with my workout, which has become my quiet time away from having to interact with people.  On Wednesdays, I just don't have enough time to be able to do that during the day.  

I accept this, and work with it (hence the "recovery Thursdays," like today).   

But on Wednesday evenings, I'm tired, emotionally and mentally, and last night was no exception.  I sat down on the couch, and the combination of exhaustion from the day and the struggle to retrain my pessimistic inclinations just led to an incredible feeling of uneasiness and sadness.   Friends are hurting with unspeakable pains......frustrations with daily life.....incredible sadness as I watch family members deal with the worst kind of growing old (dementia)...and not being able to DO anything about any of it.  I'm too far away from most of them to actually, physically, hold them or help.  We have no ability to GET to them, either.   I can't, financially, give them the support they need.  I feel like I'm on one side of a canyon, and can see everyone hurting on the other side....but there's no bridge - or even materials to build the bridge - to get to them.  My heart is heavy, and I just can't shake it.

So today, I hurt.  I'll probably stay in my pajamas for the better part of the day, and the goals are little ones (school and laundry).   Tomorrow, we'll try again.   Just thought I should counteract the dripping  "sugary" nature of the last few posts.  


  1. Replies
    1. Between your post on the same topic, and the book club reading "The Temperament God Gave You," I finally no longer feel alone! There ARE other introverts out there!! We're all just too busy hanging out at home to run into each other! haha

  2. High fivin' ya as one introvert to another. You are not alone :) We are in a small Jewish community so there is pressure to go to/participate in EVERYTHING. I'm lucky my husband (also an introvert) is good at setting boundaries. Akiva is our only extrovert in the house so far (still unsure about the baby) so I worry about providing enough "out" stuff for him...luckily he's also very easy going.