It wasn't until I was an adult teaching 5th grade that I finally started realizing there wasn't something wrong with me. My first four years of teaching, I had an awesome principal. He would often call me into his office and ask for my feedback on relations between teachers. He wanted to know how I saw the situation. He invited me to be on committees because, "You don't talk a lot, but when you do, it's important." I'll forever be thankful to Keith, my first principal, for having the confidence in me so that I could start seeing what he did in myself.
As life continued as an adult, I received a lot of the same feedback from co-workers, moms, friends, and family. The more I read about introvert personalities, the more I realized that these traits I thought made me weird as a child were what actually made me ME. Introverts often share the need for quiet, to think about what they want to say before saying it and are observant of the situations/feelings around them. Sometimes we seem quiet and disinterested in what is being shared, but actually, we are thinking hard about it.
One of the things I love about being a mid-lifer is that you finally come to terms with who you are. You have seen the same responses from people and yourself over and over and know what to expect. This allows you to find comfort in who you are. I now realize ahead of time that I may hope to be invited to attend outings but will most likely turn down the invitation. I feel excited for others who love to travel and have multiple experiences in life, but know that for myself, I am quite content ordering take-out food and enjoying an evening of Netflix and wine with my husband. It doesn't mean I am not interested in the world, it just means that I find more comfort in quiet days/nights than the noise that comes with these experiences. I now know that when I am struggling in life, I need to process it before I can share it with others. Some may find this hurtful, but it's what I need. We are all different. We each have a place. I am glad that I have finally found mine and no longer feel like the "weird" one. I am just ME.
*If you are interested in whether or not you are an introvert or extrovert (or maybe both), take the quiz at Quiet Revolution, a place for introverts and those that want to understand us better. Here is what my Introvert description said:
"Given the choice, you’ll devote your social energy to a small group of people you care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. You think before you speak, have a more deliberate approach to risk, and enjoy solitude. You feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests you. When you’re in overly stimulating environments (too loud, too crowded, etc.) you tend to feel overwhelmed. You seek out environments of peace, sanctuary, and beauty; you have an active inner life and are at your best when you tap into its riches."