An Introverts Holiday Season

The introverts in the world, Christmas and New Years is probably the worst time of year.  Trying to get away from all the noise and distraction is nearly impossible and normal tasks become stress inducing activities because of it.  I can’t speak for others, but having a quiet and ordered mind is key to being able to sit down and process.  The past week has been anything but quiet and ordered.  There was so much that needed to be done; cooking, cleaning, last-minute shopping, wrapping, organizing, decorating, etc.  After just over a week without any downtime to speak of, the annual holiday blow up was going to be inevitable.

After surprising myself by keeping it together for my workplace holiday party (Dec 16th) and the daughter’s birthday party (Dec 17th) with a week of prepping for the following weekend, all seemed tolerable.  A few things got ordered incorrectly and it was a scramble to work around it.  I ordered a few last-minute gifts on Monday (Dec 18th) and paid extra to have them in hand by Dec 23rd, but they didn’t show up.  I had two gifts for the wife that weren’t going to be under the tree because they were originally ordered wrong a few weeks back.  Turns out that there are shades to the color Brown.  Not having a color to work from, I picked the middle shade and it was the darkest shade she wanted.  Bah humbug, I took the hit on that.  Patiently waiting for the expedited shipment on Dec 23rd, that didn’t arrive, pissed me off.  Bah humbug, it’s not my fault this time, but it is because the first order was wrong.

All this non-processed stress and frustration reached a tipping point yesterday, Dec 26th, and I shut down to outside stimulus.  I didn’t attempt to do anything except watch TV and read some random IT news.  That obviously didn’t go over well with the family and I was all but pushed out the door to go to a movie with them, with more people around me, that I didn’t want to see.  Adding to all this, my wife decided to get buttered popcorn.  Butter and me don’t have a good relationship and I found myself leaning away from the popcorn bag through most of the movie.  This was interpreted as something other than just relief from the offending butter and made things worse.  Once we got home, I retreated to my basement office with my laptop and put on the noise cancelling headphones.  I spent over 3 hours in my office.

Despite resurfacing from my cave much calmer, the days damage was done and I quickly wished I hadn’t come up for dinner.  My wife has said in the past that she understands my need for processing time.  Based on what I experienced yesterday though, her actions say otherwise and she really doesn’t get it at all.  Multiple occasions I’ve tried to explain it to her, helped her understand what’s going on in my head, but I’m beginning to realize that a life long extrovert will never get it.  This season is the only time I find it difficult to find the time I need to stay grounded.  I’m not a Christmas person, never was, never will be.  My years of thinking boil down to the idea that people who act one way 11 months of the year and a different way 1 month of the year are fake and not worth my energy.  Family, friends, co-workers, doesn’t matter.  Holiday spirit is not an excuse to treat people nicely 1/12th of year and crappy 11/12th of the year.

I’m mentally preparing myself for New Years this week.  We’re doing the usual friends house with lots of food, but this year I’m not drinking.  I’ve lost my taste for alcohol in its many forms as I don’t like how it makes me feel, both during consumption and the day after.  This guy is waiting, impatiently, for January 2nd.  I’m looking forward to the end of this year’s holiday season so I can start preparing for 2018’s holiday season.  I’m ready to get started on next year already.

#christmas, #introvert, #new-years, #social-anxiety

As we head into Christmas…

This isn’t my time of year, various posts in my archives all around this time show a common theme. While I generally don’t get excited or drunk on the Christmas spirit, that doesn’t mean I Scrooge on others that do. My approach is to establish clear boundaries with people so they know that I don’t share in their enthusiasm and that, if I were to be forced to get involved, the consequences aren’t pretty. For the most part, everyone in the family knows this and isn’t too bent out of shape anymore (there are still moments). They know I get “that look” at a certain point and it’s a signal to just leave me alone for a while. Counterproductive to a non-introvert, almost frustratingly so, but a necessary moment of time for me.

 

thislook

This is sort of how I look when I get “that look”.  Best to steer clear.

Although I’m Scrooge to most outside observers, I do value the fact that it’s a time set aside every year to be around family that you normally wouldn’t see otherwise. I have my issues with family, we all do, and I do my best to accommodate as best as possible so as not to make my Scrooginess contagious. I focus on Christmas as a time my daughter can enjoy and we have never made it about gifts. Our family uses a modified version of Santa, where my wife and I get the bulk of gifts to help him out and he delivers one special gift to her. We have, the three of us, made Christmas about volunteering at the local department store to wrap gifts for families in need (department store donates gift cards, we wrap what they pick out). As this is the first year we’ve been involved with the local volunteer fire company, we rode around with them to hand out candy canes to the children in the neighborhoods Santa on the fire engine visited. We’ve also made it a family affair to one weekend go nuts with baking cookies that we hand out to family, friends, neighbors, etc. I put my foot down that the Snickerdoodles were NOT to be shared, they’re way too good a batch this year 🙂

 

leglamp

May Santa bless you with many sexy leg lamps to put in the front window, LOL

It’s going to be a rough weekend coming up. Christmas Eve (Saturday) dinner with my family, brother included. Christmas morning (Sunday) just the three of us, then breakfast with my wifes and my parents. Then Christmas Day dinner at my wifes families house, usually chaotic and stressful, but strangely enjoyable. I have consistently taken the day before Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas Day off so that I can prepare (before) and recover (after) that has typically worked quite well. If I don’t get time at the house to myself for at least a few hours, I just head out somewhere that I can. I’m anticipating this year to be a little rough with my parents and brother as they’ve picked up on the distance I’ve created. I can only hope that they respect that Christmas Eve isn’t the appropriate moment to have “that” conversation and it’s left until after the New Year.

 

It’s my wish that everyone who reads this has a wonderful Christmas holiday (or quiet weekend if you don’t celebrate) and that we all take a few moments to review the year behind us and hope for the best for the coming year. I’m heading into the final weeks of 2016 with an optimism that 2017 is going to be a good year and my life will continue improving as I increase the understanding of myself and learn about our political, financial, and governmental systems.

See you on the other side of Christmas (next Monday basically).

#a-christmas-story, #christmas, #grumpy-cat, #holidays, #introversion, #leg-lamp, #scrooge