It took me a long time to be okay with being an introvert. While some people gather their energy from being with others, my energy comes from alone time. I love nothing more than a quiet evening with candles, a bubble bath, tea and a good book or the Great British Baking Show. I thrive in silent moments, in still mornings with a cup of coffee and my puppy. I’m okay with being alone for long hours. I sometimes dread big parties where I know no one or extended periods of time when I know I’ll be with the same people for days on end.
In college, my introversion felt like a glowing curse around me all the time, a curse no one else could see. I always had roommates, people I couldn’t get away from. I never had my own space to retreat to and this meant that I felt low energy much of the time. Not going to parties was considered social suicide, so I went — but partying three times per week left me exhausted and craving alone time even more than before. My first real bedroom at Bucknell was an add on in the backyard of a house on 7th street. It was barely a room — no insulation, previously the beer room, and probably 12 feet x 12 feet — but it was mine. I’d been missing alone time for so long that I loved it.
Once I moved to Boston, I carefully learned how to keep my sanity up and my energy levels even. I started to turn down party invitations and I hunkered down with a book instead, finding that I felt more energized the next day. It took years of doing this before I could shrug off the shame of not going to those parties, though.
It’s important to mention that I do love people. I enjoy spending quality time with the people I love, taking adventures, eating good food, getting lost in conversation. Those are the great joys of my life. Because I work from home now and often find myself having gone an entire day without speaking to a single person, I have to search people out. Without some people time, I get lonely — fast. For me, adulthood has been mostly about learning what I need. It’s been about learning to balance people time and alone time. It’s been about knowing when to press the gas, when to schedule tons of social activities, and when to step back. And it’s been about embracing my need for space and quiet, without shame or negative self talk. Who I am is unique. Who I am is okay.
Turmeric Golden Milk
Or “The Coziest Healthy Coffee Replacement.” Serves 2. Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker.
- 3 cups milk (coconut, almond, soy or cow’s milk will work, but I like to combine 1.5 cups of coconut milk with 1.5 cups of cow’s milk)
- 1.5 t ground turmeric
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- 1/4 t ground cinnamon
- 1-2 T maple syrup (depending on your preferred levels of sweetness)
- 1 pinch of ground black pepper
Add milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and maple syrup to a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Place the pan over medium heat and heat for about 5 minutes (it should steam but not boil), whisking occasionally. Turn off the heat and taste your concoction. If you like it sweeter, add more maple syrup. If you prefer spice, add more turmeric or ginger.
Serve right away in 2 of your favorite mugs, or reserve half in the fridge for the next morning. (You can reheat leftovers over the stove or in the microwave). Enjoy!