Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Confessions of an Extrovert

We live in an extroverted society.  It's kind of hard to deny that.  From the youngest ages, kids are encouraged to be social.  Whether it's at school, church, or summer camp, kids are looked down upon if they don't fit into the social mold.  Lately it seems to me that a lot of energy has been entirely focused on letting introverts and others know that being that way is ok, especially on social media.  And I love that!  I love that we are allowing these people to feel like they are ok just the way they are!

Here is one of my favorite TED videos that describes this well:

Several of my closest friends are introverts.  I love being around introverts.  I love learning from introverts.  I love engaging in conversation with introverts.  My roommate is an introvert, and so are most of the guys I have been interested in.

But alas, I am not.

I am very much an extrovert.

I used to think I was an introvert in high school.  Then I got to college.  I started realizing that I can't be by myself for huge amounts of time.  I can get depressed if that happens.  I discovered that I love meeting new people and getting to know them.  That interacting with my friends is often what I need to brighten my day or mood.

I love being social.  I love being an extrovert.  But go with me for a second.... it does come with its challenges.  It's not easy.  There are many times a week, maybe even in a day, when I find myself wishing that I were more introverted.

Why is this a problem you ask?  Welllll, let me tell you:

It begins with an "S" and ends with a "you're-gonna-fail-school-if-you-don't-do-this".  Yep folks, it's studying.  First of all, I think I have a tad of ADD, and that has been an ongoing debate between my mom and I for years (although she recently told me that she actually thinks I have had it since elementary school...).  However, I think it is more than that.

Here is my dilemma:
I like to study in quiet.  It helps me to focus better.  I also like to study with people around who are also studying.  That feeds my extrovert-ness and helps me to focus.  So a lot of times I study in the lobby of our library.  I like to study here because I get to overlook Baylor, study, listen to jazz, folk, or classical music, drink my chai tea, and see people I know.

The problem comes when I know people... which inevitably occurs.

One saturday afternoon I went to the library, sat in my usual spot, and discovered one of my close friends sitting nearby.  I went over to talk to him for a couple of minutes, and then hurried back to begin the studying process.  Over the course of a few hours, my friend observed as my old roommate and her boyfriend came and talked to be for over half an hour.  Then these girls came up and I started making small talk with them.... but I couldn't remember their names.  He observed me seeing friends I hadn't seen in years, and my accidental spilling of tea on my computer.  Yes, I got work done... but it took much longer than it should have.  And Carlos was laughing at me quite a bit by the end.

There are so many times a week when I wish that I had the will power to sit down with a pile of books by C.S. Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Claiborne, and a variety of other authors and theologians.  I wish that I could just devour them without even thinking about moving.  I wish that I didn't feel the need for human interacting every like 30 minutes.  I wish that I didn't start thinking about something random and go off into my own little land (that may be the ADD...).  But really, there are so many times when I wish I was a tad more introverted.

Maybe this is the whole "the grass is greener on the other side" phenomenon.... but maybe it's not.  I think that I can be happy in where I am on this spectrum and still long to grow in either way.  After all, developing ourselves to be productive demonstrates how we work as humans, doesn't it?  If we are completely stagnant in how we approach life and all the aspects of it, we miss something.  Seems to fit into Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest.

So here's to the introverts!

Here's to the ones who inspire me to read, to learn, and to focus.  Who teach me that it is okay to be alone sometimes.

But let's be honest... I wish you were here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Make it Happy to Last the Whole Night Long

For my past four years at Baylor, I have been involved with this thing called All University Sing.  My first year I was a member of Sing Alliance, a non-Greek organization that is amazing and allows for the whole university to participate.  Since then I have performed with Alpha Delta Pi, serving as a Sing chair last year.

Sing is important to me, has been, and will continue to be.  It has provided a creative outlet for me in which to pour those skills that I would have missed from high school.  It has allowed for me to grow more confidence in myself, both as a leader and as a person.  It has allowed for me to meet a lot of awesome people and to have a lot of amazing opportunities.  I've made some of my best friends through our bond for Sing.

However, Sing is not the most important thing in the world.  I think that Baylor students seem to think that the world goes on a break for January and February and that the whole world revolves around Sing.  But it doesn't.  Classes are still going on.  Other campus organizations are still going.  People are living and dying.  Other things are going on.  Life is happening.

The past three years my mind has gotten absolutely tangled with Sing.  It was literally all I could think about-- past acts, possible future acts, ways to improve our act, Sing drama, etc.  I would come out of Sing completely exhausted.  I would tell people I didn't want to talk about Sing, but then two minutes later I would find myself have an elaborate conversation on the same topic.

Another thing I have realized is that I'm generally less happy during the Spring semesters.  I'm not completely sure why this is, but I do think that it has to do somewhat with Sing.  Sing cuts into everything.  It cuts into my free time, my sleep time, my homework time, my friend time, my Jesus time.  I always feel the furthest from God after Sing because instead of him or things constructive to him, I am making Sing my idol.

But Sing is not the most important thing in the world.  Who wins Sing is not the most important thing in the world.  Making Pigskin is not the most important thing in the world.

If being a participant in Sing has taught me one thing, it is that the important things are the positive memories that you make.  The friendships you develop.  The fun you have with your brothers, sisters, and/or friends.  The entertainment you provide for hundreds.

But remember why you're at Baylor in the first place.  Is it so that you can perform on the stage during Homecoming?  Is it so that you can make entertainment?  No, the reason that you are at Baylor is for your education.  The learning is the most important thing.

I wish someone had told me that as a freshman.... I probably wouldn't have listened.