This weekend, we went to three parties. One of them was at our house. We had a holiday party Saturday night, my sister's birthday party Saturday night, and hosted some friends for the Steelers/Jets game on Sunday. But let me back up.
As I have said, one of the biggest issues I have with life in general, and this holiday season in particular, is how busy I am and how I never have time for myself. A wise friend told Kathy recently, "Try to give Erin a couple of hours to herself over the weekend." So Kathy said to me, "You know, you haven't been to yoga in a while. Why don't you go on Saturday." I woke up Saturday, and went.
Then I came home, and Kathy and I ran errands, then it was immediately time to go to the mall to do Christmas shopping. I totally melted down. Kathy very nicely took the kids and went to the mall with her mom and the kids, and I stayed home and napped, then wrote Christmas cards. It was very nice. Then it was dinner time, and Kathy asked if I wanted chicken burgers or beef burgers, and would I mind going to the store to get whichever I wanted? And I melted down again. Yikes. Something was so clearly not right.
The truth is, despite the fact that I like my friends, and am pretty talkative, and not all that private, I'm an introvert. By this I mean that I get energy from time alone. When things are as hectic as they are now, it takes more than an afternoon nap to replenish my stores.
Kathy is the opposite. She gets energy from being with others. She is the classic extrovert. When we spend a weekend at home, just the two of us, I feel rejuvenated. She feels "cut off from the world," and wants to turn on the TV. When we have three parties, she feels excited and energized. I feel overwhelmed.
This holiday season has been everything that makes me uncomfortable. We have what I am calling "the twelve days of parents" (both Kathy's and mine), with various parties interspersed, plus a trip to Vegas for our friend's wedding. We were supposed to have a New Year's Eve party as well, and I finally just said I couldn't.
Despite how difficult it is at times for an introvert and an extrovert to coexist happily, I see this combination in some of my favorite, happy couples. I think it's because we truly balance each other. Kathy makes me get out of the house when I would like to just hole up and nest. I make Kathy come home when we have been out too many nights in a row. And somewhere, we find balance. Occasionally, like now, our see-saw leans a bit too much toward the activity, and I am that stick figure that is floating in the air. Other times, it leans the other way, and I feel content and grounded, and then realize we haven't seen our friends in a month, and my lovely partner is freaking out about how we have no social life. Which we need to have, for both our sakes. Time with others adds energy and interest to our relationship.
But really, on average, we keep each other nicely in the middle.