On February 14, I had the opportunity to spend the evening with my oldest daughter. We went to Sioux Falls, out to dinner and to see “Into The Woods.” Fantastic musical that will have you in tears from both laughter and sorrow. I love spending time with her and I hope & pray she continues to want my company for a long time … okay forever actually.
We had a chance to talk. And one of the things we talked about was being introverted. Introverts get a bad rap. Or they did. More and more people are learning that introverts just need some down time.
I asked Maggie who she hangs out with at school. I know her best friends are from Girl Scouts and I know they are loud and silly and love to be in each other’s company. What I don’t know is school. She told me that at recess her favorite thing to do is sit on the swings and think. She enjoys her alone time. She chooses to sit on the swings and think. She said sometimes her friends join her and sometimes they don’t, but she’s okay either way. When she was in 4th grade, after a school concert, we went to pick her up in her room. When we finally got to the room (lots and lots of parents picking up their kid!), her teacher looked for her to be near him like the rest of the students had been. A quick glance around the room found Maggie in her very favorite spot: the reading corner with a book in her lap. All the noise & activity, and she just needed to find a quiet spot.
At home, in our evenings, you will find her hanging out with us, but not hanging out – sitting next to me, 2-in-1 in her lap with her headphones on, laughing at some silly YouTube video.
I’m learning a lot about myself by watching my daughter. She is my mini-me. Watching her, I am gaining a lot of insight to who I was, who I am. Much like Maggie, I internalize a lot. I like my downtime, my time figuratively on the swings and in my thoughts. For a long time, I thought I had to be gregarious and an extrovert to be a leader. And oh my goodness, is that exhausting!
One thing I’m learning and loving to finally see is the business world embracing people of all personality types, seeing a need for a variety of skills, a variety of thought processes to have success. Even so, I’ve had to learn how to speak up, to be confident in my voice while sitting at the table. I finally have a manager who will listen, who will challenge me and who asks me to speak. It has helped me to step outside my comfort zone. I’m hoping it shows my daughter how to embrace her true self, but to be okay stepping beyond, stretching herself to reach beyond the boundaries of the standards.
But I know we’d both be happy to just hang out at home, watching a movie or reading side by side.