Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Posts tagged ‘extrovert’

What Else Leaves When Your Nest Empties?

Our Nest Empties of More than Our Kids

Although my kids moved out years ago (has it really been that long?) I’m starting to notice things I no longer keep in the house. I don’t mean the obvious like piles of laundry, messy rooms, and a sink full of dishes I didn’t use. No, I mean the more subtle things. The products I no longer use and the foods I no longer eat, the occupation of my space.

Here are a few things which moved out when my kids left the nest:

  • Ketchup
  • Goldfish (the kind you eat)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Random animals (guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards other than the suicidal ones I see once in awhile…)
  • Bagel bites
  • Games
  • Encyclopedias
  • Clutter
  • Constant noise of some kind
  • Arguments
  • Tension
  • Companionship

What Fills the Empty Space

I could go on, and it will vary from person to person. But what about what moved in when the kids flew the coop? Here are a few things, years later I’m still discovering and loving:

  • An entire house all for me
  • Peace
  • Tranquility
  • Silence
  • Clear space everywhere
  • A clean kitchen every night
  • Healthy food in my refrigerator and freezer
  • Keeping my own crazy hours without worrying about disturbing anyone
  • All the cats sleep with me

Adjusting to What’s Missing

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrStill, it isn’t all wine and roses. There are and always will be downsides to living alone. The biggest for me is being alone when I’d rather not be. I’m basically an introvert, so I’m not likely to just go out by myself to a place where I don’t know people to avoid being alone on a Friday night.

Most of my friends still work outside their homes and often need a quiet Friday night to relax and detox. As I’ve been working from home and only seeing people when I wanted to, I’m usually in a pretty mellow state by Friday and wouldn’t mind some company of my own choosing. Nevertheless, most Friday nights I spend alone.

Other areas where living alone can be hard are:

  • No one there if you fall in the shower and can’t get up or even reach the phone
  • No one to hold you when you’re sad or lonely
  • No one to take you to the doctor or go get you soup if you’re sick
  • No one there if you need an extra set of hands
  • No one to help with the chores
  • No one to talk to when you don’t feel like being alone
  • Dinner in front of the TV or at your desk gets old after awhile
  • Cooking for one (need I say more?)
Empty Nest: A Blessing and a Curse

Needless to say, adjusting to the pros and cons once the kids move out for all us single parents out there definitely has its highs and lows. We learn to adjust to the lows and fill our lives with enough activity to keep us from wallowing. We learn how much alone is enough, and where it becomes too much to bear. Of course, pets are a huge benefit. Without them, I know I’d have crashed and burned a few times when life threw too many tough things at me, or gave me too much time alone.

You could say people who are extroverted have an easier time of it, but do they really? I have extroverted friends who struggle over the same things I do. Maybe they manage them differently, but you can only go out alone so often, even to crowded places without finding yourself in “lonely town” in spite of the crowds.

Sure, we chit chat on social media or talk to our pets. We may private message or text back and forth. But it’s not the same as human contact. It’s definitely not the same as having someone around at least part of the time who cares how you’re feeling, how your day went, and what’s making you feel anxious at times. Nor will it ever replace a good, old-fashioned, heartfelt hug that’s made especially for you.

The Beauty of Human Contact

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy social circle; my friends are real huggers. We hug hello. We hug good-bye. We hug because we know someone needs it, or because we know they’re having a tough time. We hug for joy when someone has wonderful news. We hug for no reason at all. Still, there is the hug from someone who believes you are their moon, sun, and stars. It’s the most special kind of hug, and one I haven’t felt in a very long time.

How can you miss something that’s so far in the past as to have been forgotten or so distant as to be more a dream than a memory? Some things embed themselves into the very fiber of our being. We don’t need to remember. It’s just there. And it’s the single most unpleasant part of always being alone; of putting the key in the lock, knowing only the cats will be waiting behind those doors. Of getting ready for bed every night knowing you’ll fall asleep alone, get up alone, and maybe not even talk to a single soul all day long.

Wondering if Anyone Would Notice

Too many times when I’m feeling especially low, I’ll ask myself “if I fell and hit my head, how many days would go by before someone even thought to check and see why I was so quiet? How many days would I be off social media before someone thought to ask why I hadn’t made a single peep?” If the times I’ve been sick for a few days, or simply boycotting social media are any indication, it could be a while.

My daughter is used to me not answering her at times. She knows I get busy with my writing and thinks nothing of radio silence for a few days. At least I’m pretty sure she does. I have yet to get panic calls or texts asking why I haven’t been responding when I’ve been out of touch for a few days.

Lest you think I spend all my days having a pity party, it’s really not so. I have created an active social life with some pretty amazing friends. But that doesn’t mean there are times I wish I wasn’t so alone whenever the door closed and the lights went out. It’s human nature to be connected. Much as I proclaim my love of solitude as an Introvert, there is such a thing as too much alone time. There are times I miss the clutter, the tension, and having to wipe the ketchup off the counter because someone was too lazy to clean it up.

I miss having someone there if I were to fall and hit my head.

Finding Gratitude at Every Turn

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my amazing, loving friends.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who keep me company no matter what, and love me unconditionally.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned to be more social.
  4. I am grateful I have an amazing gift in my writing which allows me to express things instead of burying them deep inside to fester and grow.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, hugs, inspiration, joy, dancing, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Being Single in the Safe Zone

Leaping Before You Look

A few days ago, I talked about asking yourself whether you were ready to open up your heart after, let’s face it, a long dry spell. I’m discovering that like everything else, it’s a process. First you have to ask yourself the questions. Then you have to answer honestly knowing there are no right or wrong answers here. And finally, you have to start the series of baby steps that will eventually lead you to your destination.

Most of us don’t leap from deciding to give relationships a chance to jumping with both feet into one. Like diving into a swimming pool that isn’t heated, we start slowly, then work our way up to the scarier parts. But how slow is slow?

Once you’ve decided to lower your defenses and take a look around to see what’s out there, how do you actually go about it? Lists? Online dating? Speed dating? Just looking around wherever you tend to spend time (hopefully not the office!) to see what, or rather who you might see? Do you set certain criteria? Single, employed, and with a pulse are usually a good place to start.

Safety First…But Not Forever

If you’re like me, whether consciously or not, you look at the safe ones first. What do I mean by safe? They fall into several categories, the most obvious being currently attached. I look at those because I’m watching how they treat the women they’re with. I learn a lot about how I want to be treated from them (and how I do NOT wanted to be treated as well. One in particular comes to mind. He was feeding his lady popcorn in the middle of a crowded bar! Yikes!) I can watch and learn without worrying about engaging my heart just yet.

Another safe one is someone who exhibits some of the traits of one of those exes you’d like to forget; those red flags that will always be show-stoppers. One of my big turn-offs is someone who drinks excessively. One or two drinks is fine, but beyond that, my red flags are waving like there’s a stiff breeze…50 or 60 miles per hour worth of stiff. And if a guy looks like Adonis, I might enjoy looking, but you’d better believe that’s one I’d never touch. I’m simply not the arm candy I believe they’re looking for. But a girl does enjoy a little eye candy now and then. It’s not just for guys, you know.

Turning Research Into Action

Observing is all well and fine, but there comes a time when you have to decide you’ve put in enough research and start putting pen to paper, so to speak. The question is, how do you know when that time has come? Or more specifically, when you’re ready to venture out past the safe zone. Dipping your toes into the shallows is one thing. But diving in with both feet, oblivious to possible rip tides is quite another.

I suppose several factors will influence the decision. First, how long you’ve been out of the water. Second, whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. As an introvert, I’m far more likely to take the safe road where people are concerned. It takes a concerted effort or stuffing a sock in the inner voice that screams Danger, Will Robinson! Moving forward will lead to certain psychological annihilation! or something equally dramatic and patently unlikely. But my panic buttons are set at a very low level when it comes to humans in general and males who might upset my status quo in particular.

Assuming we’ve gotten past the first two without incident, there’s the twin factors of opportunity and mutual attraction. When you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, and even 40’s, opportunities are still fairly plentiful even if some of those opportunities are 20 years older than you are. But by the time you hit your 50’s and 60’s, especially if you’ve been in dry dock for more than a decade, not only have the opportunities dropped into the single digits, but there are scores of women on the hunt for an unattached male who are both aggressive and persistent. If you haven’t developed these qualities while sitting on the bench, those few opportunities shrink even further.

Figuring Out the Logistics, Or Finding My Own Crooked Lid

Of course, if staying safe is your intention, none of these are bad things. There’s no charge for looking, dreaming, or even engaging in friendly, commitment-free conversation. Just remember the huntresses are locked and loaded and unless the man is especially wise to their wiles, he’ll be in a relationship before you can say “would you like to meet me for coffee?”

Yet I do see women re-entering the dating game with some success. I can only wonder which of the factors helped them get past the initial dunking with a willingness to splash around for a bit until they got used to the chill and started actually enjoying it. Did someone catch their eye and make them see possibilities? Did they find someone in their usual hangout/group with whom they felt comfortable and connected from the start? Did they haunt online dating sites, sending pokes or messages or whatever the term is these days? Or are they just braver and more socially aware than I am such that they figured out the rules to the dating game and entered with some tools I lack?

Being the inveterate optimist, I prefer to believe a granny-ism a friend once shared: There’s no pot too crooked it can’t find its lid. I think we stay in the safe zone until we recognize our own particular crooked lid, assuming we’re not one of those afore-mentioned huntresses who truly are just looking for someone who is unattached and has a pulse and a job. If you ask me, it’s worth the wait to find that one who makes your heart sing, keeps you laughing and makes you feel cherished. For me, settling for less is not an option. Single will always beat settling, any day of the week.

Stay tuned as I’m not done researching this one. I’ve finally moved on from Google to actually observing the world around me. I might even start talking to men I don’t know, or don’t know well! (or I will as soon as I can get my tongue untied!)

Gratitudally speaking

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’m learning.
  2. I am grateful for friends who offer examples, insights, and encouragement
  3. I am grateful for my curious mind.
  4. I am grateful for increasing confidence and a little bit of recklessness thrown in for shits and giggles.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunity, lessons, challenges, friendship, love, joy, signs, wisdom, confidence, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Navigating a World Designed by Extroverts

Have You Guessed?

My name is Sheri and I am an Introvert. That means I have two choices: I can either become a recluse and find a way to live my life far away from people, or I can adapt. For most of my life, I chose the latter and learned how to fool people into believing I was at least somewhat like them. Eventually, I learned I could have the best of both worlds.

To make matters worse, I’m also an Empath. What that means in simple terms is that if you’re feeling sad or angry or scared, I’m going to feel it too, right down to the marrow of my bones.

Learning to Play a Part

Part of my adaptation to the world of Extroverts has been learning to detach myself from people while being in close proximity. When I first realized the need to create some kind of barrier between myself and humanity, I chose something simple. I imagined myself surrounded by outward facing mirrors which reflected emotions and even thoughts directed at me or near me back to the sender. It was a solution, albeit primitive and filled with drawbacks. Imagine living your life inside a disco ball!

After a couple of decades of unknowingly drowning in loneliness and a withdrawal from the comforts of human contact, I learned I was shutting out the good with the bad and sought another solution.

In the meantime, I’d learned to project an image of confidence and friendliness. People were fooled…to a point. They bought into the confident, extroverted person I projected, but knew instinctively that it lacked the warmth which would have made me human and approachable. What I got for my trouble was a lot of superficial relationships.

Turning Point

Personal traumas and life in general made me aware of a need for true human contact, messy emotions and all. But I knew I needed to be selective about the people whose dark, twisty sides I allowed into my head. So I studied and read and talked to my kids. Eventually I learned I could use the elements to which I related best (in my case, fire and water) to create a barrier which allowed me to selectively block people instead of the overall detachment I’d established in my 20’s.

But the factor which helped me cope in a world of strong, outgoing personalities best was choosing to follow my passion for writing which is, at best, a solitary occupation. Now, I get to choose when to interact with people and when to spend a day or days alone with my cats. I get lots of time to recharge before diving back into the world, strong, confident and able to perpetuate the myth that I am an Extrovert too.  Like Anna in The King and I, I face my fears by acting like they don’t exist until eventually, they just don’t!

Moving Forward

Today I follow a somewhat regular schedule of seclusion and socialization which seems to work for me. When the balance shifts, I might need to hide out for a few days after an excessive amount of human contact, but for the most part, I’m able to recharge my batteries more and more easily with practice.

Are you an Introvert in an Extrovert’s world? What are some of the things you do to navigate life without becoming overwhelmed. Leave me a comment. I’ll bet you have some ideas I haven’t even considered!

The Biggest Factor of All: Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I am grateful for attracting more people like myself.
  3. I am grateful for what I fooled myself into believing and being.
  4. I am grateful for the lifestyle which allows me to be who I am, and to love that person unconditionally.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, solitude, recharging, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, confidence, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of Mark Sebastian via Flickr

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