A Gemini’s Dilemma

“We didn’t see you for, like, two years,” Amanda said from the back seat.

And I agreed.

She qualified the statement, acknowledging that it wasn’t like I’d totally disappeared.  Only mostly.  She was practically saying, “We knew you were alive.  But we didn’t know where you were living.” 

And it’s funny, because for a while I did feel really out of touch with everyone.  I’ve had an extraordinary, ever-changing, ever-growing network of friends in Austin since I moved here, but there was a time when I thought I’d lost touch; when I felt like we’d mutually written each other off.  I was beginning to wonder if Austin was the right place for me anymore.  If I’d lost my center; my niche.  Austin is so brimming with activity and life.  It has so much culture and excitement.  So much to offer.  But I was wondering if I still even liked it at all.  I just didn’t feel connected or grounded in the way that I once had.

And then it dawned on me:  When I was opting not to go to the happy hours, the parties, the shows, and instead sinking into my couch and watching episodes of The Jersey Shore on DVR, I was writing myself out of the equation.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go.  I just felt so tired all the time.  Getting my ass out of the house seemed so exhausting.  Especially when I could make some mac and cheese, curl up in my PJs, and get a good night’s sleep.  (Damn, that sounds depressing.) 

So of course my friends stopped inviting me to things.  Who can blame them?  A person can only hear “no” so many times.  It wasn’t that they didn’t want me there, it was that they were forgetting about me.  I wasn’t on the list of people who, you know, do stuff.

And then I started doing stuff again. 

“I’ve seen you more in the last six months than the last two years,” Amanda continued as she, Tessa and I drove home from Cara’s weekend-long wedding celebration. 

And again, I agreed.  And I’m so thankful that when I emerged from my self-imposed isolation, my friends welcomed me back with open arms.  That it was like we hadn’t missed a beat.  Our relationships were as strong as they’d ever been.

And Ironically, I’ve had more energy and felt more alive in these six months than I have in the last two years.  I’ve always thought that, as a Gemini, I love both being with other people and being alone.  I thought I was equal parts introvert and extrovert. 

But I’ve been approaching life from a place of YES lately, taking every opportunity to meet new people, do new things, and relish my time with the people I love.  If it’s true that extroverts gain energy from being in a crowd, maybe I’ve resolved the dilemma of being a Gemini.  Maybe that’s why I was so tired all the time before.  I thought that a “good night’s sleep” would give me the energy and the enthusiasm I was lacking, but in fact I was cutting myself off.  Being with people charges me up in ways that sleep and rest (and the DVR) don’t. 

What’s more, I would always regret not going out and joining my friends for the fun.  I never say, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t gone to that kickass show,” or, “Too bad I played in that Ultimate tournament,” or, “That book -signing was a real drag.”  But I did frequently spiral into despondent remorse when I didn’t go to those things.

Now, I do still like my “me” time.  I’m a writer.  Quiet, isolated introspection is a must.  It’s an expectation and a luxury.  But all of this bustling activity, all of these gloriously friend-filled experiences are fueling my work.  I bring more gusto to my alone time and my writing than I ever did before.  The words come easier.  My cup runneth over.

So it’s with this understanding—this embracing of the new (or old, or re-imaged) me—that I approach this weekend. 

This morning a friend emailed me to say that she had stumbled into two free passes to ACL Fest, and she wanted me to be her “plus-one.”  Yes, for a moment I thought, “But I wanted to sleep in this weekend, and rent a movie, and make chocolate chip cookies…” 

But I caught myself. 

I realized that this is one of those times when I need to seize the moment.  Sure, there will be crowds and heat and hassle.  But I’ve used that excuse too many times.  This is an opportunity, and I’d only regret not taking it.    

So go, Colleen.  Savor the adventure.  Celebrate being an extrovert.