Thursday, July 31, 2003

Years ago, I attended a John Lee seminar on "the rhythm of closeness". The basic idea is that, if we pay attention to our emotional needs, we'll find our hearts telling us when we need to be apart, and when we need to be together. His credibility came from his calm, self-assured demeanor, and the shattered remains of two marriages on which he stood.

When you're as relentlessly self-absorbed as I am, you can't help but notice your own emotions. My reaction is compounded by the fact that I stand right on the line between introvert and extrovert. When I lived in the dorms and never had a moment alone, I tested as an introvert when they gave me the Myer's Briggs test. When I lived with a wife and worked in a cube no one ever visited, I tested as an extrovert, because now I craved the energy of crowds. And now, when my work life is pretty social, and my schedule is filling up, I find myself craving solitude, which is now available to me, albeit not entirely by my choice (though there's much more I could have done).

It's one thing when extroverts spend time with other extroverts. For one thing, they derive their energy from time spent with others, so they can feed off one another. And their public face is them at their most relaxed, most themselves. It's the opposite with introverts, who are never quite at ease in public, but are at home when they are, well, at home. But I drink from both pools, and can't ever quite settle in one. It's a balancing act that resembles capoiera more than kung fu.

No comments: