Yup. Forty one years ago I arrived. I was the long awaited firstborn of my parents. A blessing for sure.
Sweet baby to darling toddler, precocious preschooler, eager youngster, awkward teen, insecure young woman, and finally, blossomed into the self assured (mostly) person I call ME!
I don’t think of it as growing older. Sure, my hair has more gray than ever. Sure, there is evidence that I smile, laugh and scrunch my nose when I find things odd or funny. I’m far from svelte.
But wow, I feel like 41 years in and I’m finally getting to know myself.
You see, from college on, I always thought of myself as an extrovert. Which is funny, I spent all of elementary school and high school as shy. . .and maybe even odd. But an extrovert is who I WANTED to be.
I wanted to be “that girl”, you know the one. The pretty, popular, hip girl, surrounded by good friends and suitors. Instead, I was usually the one surrounding “that girl”. I was hardly surrounded by suitors (though I did end up reeling in the best catch ever!).
I would take the personality tests and cheat. I knew what I wanted to be. . .the extroverted, outgoing, fun loving gal. So I would answer the questions that way . . . I am a professional test taker!
“Look!”, I would say. “I’m an extrovert and I love people!”
But what I really loved were MY people. My inner circle. The people that I felt safe with.
Spring Break in Daytona? No thanks, I’d rather stay back in our nearly empty apartment and relax for Spring Break.
Bar Night or watch “Friends”? I usually stayed back and opted for a night out with my close friends on the much less crowded Tuesday nights.
The signs were all there. But I never saw them.
I could not be an introvert. Introverts are weird hermits. Introverts lack social skills. I liked people, and public speaking, and managing the radio station.
And it is true. I love people. I even like being the center of attention sometimes. I’m not even a totally private person . . . I’m kind of an open book.
But when I look at lists of introvert traits, I realize that is who I am.
I used to equate introversion with shyness, and since I’m not really shy, I assumed I was extroverted.
You have no idea how much relief this revelation has offered me. I finally feel like I am being true to myself. I feel like I am not wrong to really, genuinely prefer a morning in my chair with coffee and a good book rather than a shopping spree at the crowded mall. It explains why I prefer camping and hiking to a tourist destination.
Self awareness is very freeing.
I look at my twins and see so much of myself. Emily is gregarious and bubbly and fearless, talking a mile a minute. Lizzie is more aloof, content, and quiet. I like to tell people that I fancy myself as Emily, but really, I am more like Lizzie. They are both great kids. . .but very different needs and personality types. I hope that through the years I can nurture each girl’s unique needs.
I’d love for them to feel comfortable in their own skin long before they turn 41!
Chime in! Are you the personality type that you always fancied yourself to be, or do you surprise yourself?