"Back in grad school I was an extrovert. I'm different now. The quarantine has definitely brought out the introvert in me."
In 1992 I earned my Master’s in Public Administration at George Washington University. In our Capstone class we took the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The ubiquitous MBTI questionnaire indicates how people perceive the world and make decisions. The purpose in taking it was to understand our personal preferences, personality and leadership style—and to understand and recognize differences in others that bring value to a team.
Back then, I was an off-the-chart “E” for extrovert. At 25, I was talkative and outgoing. I tended to think through ideas out loud and preferred spending time with others. I got my energy from being with people.
My group house was the ideal living situation. I went stir crazy by myself.
Perhaps it has something to do with getting older, but my preferences and behaviors have changed since graduate school. And this Covid quarantine has definitely brought out the “I”— introvert—in me.
These days I am quite content to stay home and hibernate. Reading books, watching movies, playing games, baking bread and taking time to cook meals at home are fulfilling and giving me joy. Any kind of social interaction takes a lot of energy out of me.
In Israel there is a Hebrew expression, to snail. I’m enjoying the time in my shell, although I have found little ways to engage socially and leave my cave. Every morning, I walk my dog (six feet apart) with my neighbor. I am grateful to live in Arlington Forest near trees and woods, where I can enjoy nature.
I’ve always made a huge deal out of my birthday. When I turned 50, I threw a huge party with 100 people and lots of food and a margarita machine.
This year was different. I celebrated my 55th in late April by going on a hike with my dog. When I got home, my family surprised me with coffee from Dunkin Donuts and a coffee cake. That was the best surprise!
Later, I had tea and an afternoon Zoom call with friends, followed by another with family. I was worried about being socially awkward and not having anything to say.
My roommates and friends from graduate school and I have started connecting on Friday evenings for Zoom Shabbat. It’s something I look forward to all week. On my birthday, they all held up signs that said “Happy Birthday.”
My daughters, husband and I sat around the table with a homemade cake with three candles (the numbers 5 and 4 + 1) they had found in the pantry.
These little things at home have become big things. And the introverted me appreciates that. It’s just fine.
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