sugar and dirt. (thoughts on being an old soul)

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I am often accused of being an old soul.

Why? I don’t know.

I think it’s because I’m quiet and a wallflower and can hang with folks older than me.

“You’re only 27!?”

And I understand. My balding head, nodding to your adult stories, tossing in a few bits like double dutch, whenever I’m ready to make sense of it all.
Fair enough. I am an old soul. But something tells me deep down, there’s more to it.

I’ve been around other dudes in their late 20’s and I feel as though I missed some pivotal growing stage. Like maybe I just jumped over it because I didn’t feel like it would work for me.

I’m grossed out by arrogance and too much pride. (Granted, blogging is all about ‘me, me, me’, but there is something hard to swallow when I have to listen to people build themselves like a personal resume. “People tell me I’m amazing…I dunno…I’m just a guy, ya know?”)

Yes, you are just a guy.

I’m noticing this is something single dudes develop at some point when looking for a mate… (or to mate, for that matter. Whichever is more lucrative.)

Whatever. Just a stick in the mud right? I suppose old souls get tagged with that too. Grandpa. Uncle. Mr. Business. I’ve been called it all, at the expense of the other person feeling good about their stamina and/or free spirit. Or whatever I’m supposed to call it.

When deep deep down, I’m learning more and more how to be childlike. If anything, growing up in traumatic situations makes you age quicker than your friends. Like when they’re going camping for the weekend, and you are torn with which parent to spend it with or whether or not you feel safe going home. That loss of innocence is world-changing. And because it’s your world, not everyone will notice the changes you have to make to survive it all.

theatlantic.com

theatlantic.com

I learn from little ones. How they feel and how they feel misunderstood. We all keep misunderstanding each other. We all really want to understand. Some of us don’t, and I suppose that’s okay. But we are all still moving in the ways fear makes us move – when we listen to bad voices and have a hard time loving ourselves.

I mean, sheesh! I was terrible to myself last night.
I sat alone in my room, thinking how sad it was that the Panda Express I was consuming was so, so awesome in the thick of everything going down in my life. And that I was watching a sad show and it was stormy outside. I felt so rightly alone. Nothing but the sound of the dog’s breath coming from under the door. (No doubt, the string bean chicken aroma was calling his keen nose to its source…)

I ran through all these scenarios in my head of what loneliness looks like and why it was such a bad thing.

A roommate of mine saying, “I feel sad for you”, was not what I wanted to hear. But whatever. I had my chow mein. I was okay. I appreciated the sentiment, but unless I really know you, those words are a little haunting.

We are all filled with bits of wisdom. Especially the little ones who take joy in small things. How they are straight up when they feel sad or alone. How they learn what is good and bad. Such important and strong little things.

Somehow we are all taught to be quiet. To lower our voices. To speak only when it’s appropriate. Maybe I believed in that too much.
Either way, I am always humbled by the minds of our little ones, as they wander and somehow always smell like sugar and dirt.

So as I continue to think of myself as an old soul, I will embrace it like a friend.

And whatever it is people deem as being an old soul, so be it.

Just know, that I am dreaming and electricity is pulsing through my bones. I am not done. I’m not even close.

I have a ways to go before it all catches up.

Then again, in the words of my doc, “…you’re a spring chicken!”

So, you never know what could happen, really…

Being Alone. (More Thoughts on Being an Introvert)

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“Why do all you introverts always post stuff about being introverts?”

My co-worker said to me while unloading a sheet pan full of almond bostock.

She had a point.
We do.

Considering what I’m about to write, will only perpetuate the fact. And I’m okay with that.
I should also just go ahead and get this out of the way.

When I read things about being introverted, I get all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Like I’ve found my tribe. Like there are other people out there who hope their Friday night plans get cancelled.

But not all the time. That’s a misconception of our breed. We do love you. We love your company and your conversation. But we also love when you give us the space to collect ourselves. What we need from you is to be okay with our aloneness. Because we are. I can understand why that can be hard to grasp.

Also, there has been a lot of studies and books and articles in the past few years that have really taken off. Susan Cain, is an example. Introverts, look her up and read her book while you’re sipping tea early on a Saturday evening with Downton Abbey playing in the background.

I do love personality tests. I loved that aspect of Psychology. Something I could have spent ten-minutes online doing, rather than spending $700 learning in three months.

But it is what it is. And we all know I’m kidding, sort of.

I think it also helps people diagnose themselves. Instead of that alienating feeling of being by yourself, you embrace it. You own it. That time is yours and your time has immense value. Sometimes you do look at it as a gift to others. Like, hey, I’m paying attention to you and talking to you for a large chunk of time. That’s a big deal for me. And when others begin to value that in you, being best good friends is in order.

And you are correct in assuming that no one person falls into extremes. There are levels and shades of grey. Maybe even 50, if you’re into that kind of thing.

For me, this is how it goes:

When I come home from work, I have to decompress somewhere quiet for at least an hour. I need to gather myself. I can make it going from one hectic thing to another. But it will drain me much faster and I won’t be able to process things nearly as well. (‘Hectic’ being up for debate, depending on which side you fall under. Sometimes hectic is answering the phone.)

And yes, the phone! I hardly ever pick up the phone unless I’m waiting for something business related, someone prescheduled calling me at a certain time, or a close family member.
Don’t take it personally.

I’m just not ready.

Which is why texting is brilliant. It gives us time to respond. It also gives us the space to give you options.

“If you don’t want to eat there, that’s fine. Is there something else you want to do?”
So on and so forth.

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I know this seems tedious. But it’s really not. It’s just how our brains work. Less spontaneity. More thought out plan of action.

Surprises…are hit and miss. I’m usually not a fan of being surprised. But it depends who’s surprising. Someone who I’m close to might understand what may or may not overwhelm me. Even if it does, I won’t show it. But it’ll take a toll.

Writing it all out, sometimes makes me feel like a huge bummer. But it’s not the case. I find joy in quiet and noise. With company and in solitude. It all comes down to your health. How do you feel healthy? How do you feel energized and able to give to others? And how do you find yourself giving to others?

This is a reason cooking has been great for me. I get to spend time doing my job, taking care of others while not directly interacting all the time. I’m not rude to anyone or dismiss them, but I can work twice as long doing my own thing, than if I have to consistently be in communication with other people.

If you can take away something from this, it would be me telling you that being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.

Sure, there are always times where being alone can make you feel lonely. And that’s okay. Listen to that. And if it’s something that’s hurting you, then by all means, don’t let it get the best of you. Because there’s nothing wrong with you. Okay?

But also, to many introverts, being alone is how we function best. But it’s not the only way we function.

So there, here’s another article you can post to your Facebook about how being an introvert is normal and that you are a proper functioning human being.

Extroverts, we got nothin’ but love for ya. We are glad you exist in this world.

After all, who else would we be attracted to?