I’ve never been one for crowds, as in being in them has caused me to suffer panic attacks. This became apparent when my family visited Disneyland at a crowded time of year. Everyone had fun, including me, but when I returned to the celebrated amusement park a couple of years ago, it was during a quieter time frame. I have fonder memories of that trip but was still glad to go home.
Maybe, like me, you have outgrown your childhood shyness but still don’t quite know what to do with yourself in a social setting. I usually make like a wallflower until I work up the gumption to jump into the fray. I then enjoy myself, but it’s an exertion. If I stay too long, the restless urge to be somewhere else overwhelms me.
You might never know this about me, should we met in person. I have been described as reserved and also as outgoing. Which is true? Neither or both, depending on how you look at it. I’ve made peace with myself over being an introvert. I’ve even come to appreciate its benefits. I will never be the cool Mom or the life of the party, but I am a thinker, a reader, and an observer.
The trouble for me in today’s rapid culture is that everyone seems to be in one long social gathering, a party that goes on too long. It’s fun but also a little draining for someone like me. Engaging at a social site has the power to break my routine and throw off my day. As a writer who needs to interact with readers, I have to be online regularly but I limit the time I give these sorts of activities. I’m willing to miss out on my virtual life in order to live my actual one. Hmmm…maybe I could coin a phrase for non-internet time: actual reality.
In my opinion, the world has gone a little crazy with the need to belong, to express, to matter. Humankind has remained constant about this. It’s what our ancestors wanted, too. What has changed is our ability to slake these thirsts. It’s possible to join groups, write updates, and receive caring feedback from people we’ve never met in person.
We are all having an uproariously good time, but how much of it really matters? Here are some questions to ponder: Do I know my neighbors? Has my extended family heard from me lately? What books have I lost myself in this year? Am I getting the exercise I need?
Social media doesn’t always lead to happiness. Sometimes, we have to unplug to live a quiet life.