Ever since I came to Iowa for my PhD, I have worked extremely hard. Went to great lengths to accomplish a few goals that I had set for myself. And I did end up accomplishing most!
So this year, on New Year’s, I resolved to have more fun this year. And what fun I had!
I’m just 3.5 months into this year and I think I’ve finished up my entire quota of fun for the year!
This year, I gave fewer fucks about most people. I partied. Drank quite bit, even smoked a cigarette for the first time in my life. Made new friends. Played racquetball, cards and pool. Got myself Netflix. Met old friends of mine from college. Visited new cities. All while trying my best to handle my growing work responsibilities. (Oh, I also impulse bought a guitar that I haven’t played for a while now.)
And I’ve been failing at the work responsibilities part (though I admit, I had a ridiculously high amount this semester), but at least I had fun! So I basically flipped my entire life from being a big introvert to a big extrovert. Which brings me to the point of some extra-intro-spection.
At this point, I realize that what I described as fun, is actually what most extroverts would describe as fun. The kind of fun that distracts you from the harsher realities of life. And sometimes, the entirety of your life’s purpose.
I realize that I have had fun before as well, just not with so many other people! And much of that fun involved getting in touch with myself, and not an external locus. So basically, I would write a lot, go on solo walks or bike rides (which has been impossible in the last 3 months, thanks to the constant snow. Why is it snowing in April?!), try some sketching, cook new recipes, decorating, gymming once in a while. And that made me happy too. I relied on and spoke to way fewer people but work kept me that busy and I never felt like I was missing out on anything.
So what triggered this massive change? Well, firstly, I myself wanted to explore what this other, somewhat crazy lifestyle was like. Because when you rely on few people, there could be times when all of those people might not be around, in which case your minimal social needs do not get fulfilled, and you’re all alone in the winter vacation. And secondly, the company I kept. The group of people I chose to hang out with.
What I’ve learned about group dynamics is that you need to contribute a constant energy to maintain your position in the group. For example, if I don’t go play pool for a few times, my friends would get comfortable without me and would henceforth stop inviting me. Also, they’d get way better at playing pool, so the disparity in skill would keep increasing. The same goes for drinking. I like these to be once-in-a-while/weekend kind of activities.
So you need to keep yourself involved to a certain extent, or else you start getting excluded.
I guess that means that it’s more important to find the right kind of people that you can vibe well with. Who have similar life goals and ambitions and similar happiness/stability levels. For example, it isn’t fun to hang out with people who are completely addicted to drinking. Then it becomes more of the thing you do out of peer pressure than because you actually want to do it.
So you want to be a part of a group but also maintain your individuality, which is the tricky part that I want to figure out.
Quite frankly, that’s too many parameters to worry about! Introversion is so much more convenient!
The best kind of deal is if I can learn to balance between these two. Place myself on the fine line between these two and be an ambivert. Extremes are too tiring. And yes, “too much fun” is a thing.
Over the past few months I’ve also started liking aspects of myself more, so I really want to start inching closer to my former self. Keep the internal monologue going. Turns out, I like my own company the best!