When you have a couple of weeks where you’re so busy (read – launch of SOXS – click here to see why) that even getting dinner on the table before 7:30pm each night is a real challenge… it’s hard to see your way clear to some down time that involves effort.
Falling on the couch in a heap with a glass of wine and a good book or movie doesn’t involve effort.
Recently, one of my best friends, who now lives on the opposite side of Brisbane, invited me to a little ‘spa experience’ womens get together she was having. L knows how to party, and convinced me that it would be worth the trek by saying – leave the kids at home, get G to come too – the men can have their own drinks away from the women – and then he can drive you home! How could I resist? We pampered our feet whilst drinking copious amounts of champagne, and laughed so much my sides ached!
They were a lovely group of women, some I had met before, and some new friends to chat to as well. And as we were driving home after midnight (yes, we were the last to leave…) I realised I need to get out and do this sort of thing more often – it IS worth the effort!
As an introvert, and a little sensitive to noise given my (poor) hearing, I am often one to beg off invitations such as this, preferring to spend the night in with my family. And since I work from home, and have done for many years now, I can tend to get a little too isolated and wrapped up in my own little world.
When Andrea Learned wrote about Learning from the Outside In: One Woman’s Method to Gladness (in the Learning Forum hosted by Rosa Say in September), it rang bells all over the place with me.
This sentence in particular really caught my imagination:
I have managed to create an incredible life by learning from, and
paying attention to, letting the outside in. And this, my friends, has
been the method to my gladness for years.
Andrea, like me, is an inside-out person. We both live "far from the everyday hustle and bustle" – well, I’m only about 35 minutes out of Brisbane city – but that’s a world away!
These friends we visited with last night used to live out here, we met many years ago when our children were in the same grade 1 class together, and have been firm friends ever since. About two years ago, they decided to sell up out here ‘in the sticks’ and move to a much more cosmopolitan part of town – where coffee shops and restaurants are within walking distance, the city is a quick City Cat ride across the river, and you can clearly hear your neighbours TV from the verandah.
And they love it. Are absolutely blooming and flourishing with the very social, busy atmosphere of the place.
But G and I, on the other hand need our space, our fresh air, our quiet, to be the best we can be.
By getting outside my comfort zone, however, and making that trek across town, I found that I cleared my head, I relaxed more than I had in the longest time (even with the kids ‘home alone’), and found that the relaxed state continued over into the next day Slept in a little, had a relaxing breakfast on the verandah – just G, me and the dogs – and just pottered about all day… a good juxtaposition to how my life has been lately.
I have come to believe that this "outside in" approach works best for
me because I am so naturally the exact opposite: an "inside out"
person. If I didn’t force the issue, my brain would take over my
life. ….. Learning about the world from the
"outside in" is the pendulum swing. It is the absolute opposite of
what I do naturally and so it keeps me sane by giving my brain fresh
ideas and perspectives to ponder along the way.
I know this would sound very alien to a naturally outside in person… but the benefits to me of going against my natural tendencies are huge.
OK, I just have to ask – if your an introvert – what gets you out of your shell?
And if you’re an outrageous extravert (just like my friend and business partner Chris) – how do you recharge your batteries and keep your energy levels high?