Someone asked the other day what an “introvert intermission” is and what one does on an “ii”. Let’s begin with a definition of an introvert. An introvert isn’t necessarily shy and doesn’t necessarily suffer from a fear of public speaking. They can but it isn’t a cause/effect relationship. I’m a highly preferring introvert (nearly 90 percentile on Myers Briggs) yet I’m around people a lot and I’m quite comfortable speaking in front of hundreds of people. The difference as an introvert is that it takes a lot of energy for me to be around people rather than an extrovert who is energized by people. That is really what it comes down to – where do you get your energy from? Are you energized by being alone or by being around people?
I have close friends who would think they were being tortured by spending week’s vacation alone. But for me it is just what the doctor ordered. In fact, in the last 48 hours, I’ve probably uttered 5 words out loud and that was to the fitness room attendant. If you asked me, I would say that I’m having the most meaningful conversations I’ve had in awhile – they are just all in my head. (And not in a crazy way. Most of them, at least.)
So, what do I do on a “ii”? One of my main goals is to carve out a lot of time to just think. While it might not look like an externally active intermission, my internal world is kicking on all cylinders. I bring a lot of books with me – usually enough for a month’s time because I’m just not sure what I’ll be in the mood to read. Most are nonfiction books related to growing as a leader or believer. I usually think about where I’m going in life and what needs to happen to get there. I exercise each day and enjoy walks in the outdoors. I watch movies or TV shows in the evenings or catch up on some fiction reading. I will make plans to catch up with one or two friends in the area during the week but I really limit my interaction with people so that I’m rested up and ready to return to loving on the people in my life back home.
Please don’t misunderstand – I love people. I savor my friendships and my family. I adore the church I serve and the youth that I’m honored to call mine! However, I learned years ago that for me to be the best me in those relationships, this introvert needs an occasional intermission.
What energizes you? If you could plan an ideal personal retreat, what and who would it include?