Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nice Guests, Learned A Lot

LoveHubbie's family members, D & J, were such nice guests and we had a good time. Everything with the house and me was fine and of course no one cared how either looked! What was particularly significant about this visit was that both my husband and his brother have had serious health issues in the past few years, as well as some family misunderstandings, so it was a time of healing, and a time of knowing that they don't have forever to be with each other or to work things out. It was wonderful, intense, and I learned something very important.

What I learned had nothing to do with my lovely guests but all with me. I am always anxious that everyone feel comfortable and have interaction and a good time, so I minimize or eliminate time for the things that I need that are very anti-social (reading, quiet time, silence, internet, blogging, contemplative walking, sleep, thinking, processing) or, in the words of Karen in a comment here, "I'm not consciously choosing actions that will let me be me." This is due to my consciously choosing things that involve being hospitable to other people and entertaining them, but in the process I feel like I lose myself...even in just 4 days. I would never have believed that my identity was so fragile and tenuous, but apparently it is. When I put myself into enjoyable situations of interaction that go on for days I suffer, and I end up losing my way. Many people (like our guests) thrive on this, and even gain energy and well being from it, but I'm not one of those people.

I wonder if this is age or depression or if it's just my personality. I know that in the future I need to do things differently, but I really don't know how. At the time I feel as though I want to be with my company, especially since it could be years until I see them again; or as we advance in age, I may never see them again. I thought I'd be more resilient. But I guess I just have to accept that this time I was not.

LoveHubbie wasn't resilient either, though, and he is a real extrovert. He is still making up for lost sleep he volunteered to skip in order to have an enjoyable time. His health is rather precarious, so it is not a minor thing when he does this.

A good friend of mine is coming to visit in mid-August, but she is older, and I can keep my various appointments, keep my life going, and she will probably rest, read, enjoy the garden, and not want to be on the go or sightseeing and eating formal meals all the time. With her it might be easier to practice consciously choosing things that help me be me---but these are things she likes to do too---so I will still be being hospitable.

We live. We learn. We change.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

11 comments:

thailandchani said...

For quite some time of reading you here, I've gotten the impression that you are resistant to simply accepting yourself as you are. What you've described is a very typical introvert and HSP.

And it's totally okay. It's okay to be who you are, the way you are.

I hope that sinks in. :)


~*

Rick Hamrick said...

Gosh, what an important lesson for us all to acknowledge!

Another, more-practical yet still important concept: Saying to the guests, "here are the car keys, and a map! You will love downtown Seattle! Make sure you get back here in time for dinner..."

Just as no one is going to worry if there is clutter in the living room or if your attire is stylish to the nth degree, no one expects to spend every waking moment with their hosts. In fact, I can't take it if they insist on it when I am a guest!

Much as you do, O, I need my quiet time to do any of the dozen things I like to do by myself, including simply sitting and being quiet (I call that "vegging"). My wife being an extrovert requires negotiated periods when we both know I am going to be off in my man cave, and she will be working in her office. And, we both know when I can be expected to be available for her. And, being human, we have the occasional rather heated discussion about those arrangements and tweak them as needed.

In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with either of us! As Chani points out, it is okay to be who you are.

Having house guests or being one is only repeatable if it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It won't be repeatable if you lose yourself and Mark loses days of his life trying to recuperate!

One last idea before I am accused of filibustering: don't buy into that whole "we don't have much time left" or "we may never see each other again" thing, the idea that we have such limitations.

There is no wall, there are no limits, there is only the infinite Now. We choose to experience it with our own limited egos running the show, but that's not how it IS.

Olivia said...

Oh Chani, Chani, when will I ever learn?

Of course, you are absolutely positively right. I so want it to sink in. I think I'm going to take this as a mantra to say or sing until it does. Thank you for reminding me, yet again...and again...and again...

Love, O

Olivia said...

Rick,

Yes, and I so wish I had somehow learned this BEFORE this visit, but I appreciate the lesson and the wisdom now for the next time.

When you write "Having house guests or being one is only repeatable if it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience." that is so true, as I find myself wishing this NEVER happens again, as much as I love seeing people.

When you write: "don't buy into that whole "we don't have much time left" or "we may never see each other again" thing, the idea that we have such limitations"---this is the mantra that I was previously drilling into my skull---all me, no one else. Even if it were to be the last time we were to see each other, having a sense of now and presence and timelessness would probably have made the lesser amount of time much sweeter and certainly guaranteed less chosen struggling on our parts.

Good things, good things. No filibustering, I appreciate it all. All.

I'm letting it. Sink. In.

xxoo,

O

kikipotamus said...

Olivia, my first thought was the same as Chani's. I learned a while back that I am an HSP and an introvert. Recently reading The Introvert Advantage made me feel even more comfortable asserting my needs as an introvert. I absolutely MUST have time to recharge my batteries after being with people. I have been known to go to a party but spend it in a corner with a book I've found in the host's library. Hey, I showed up, didn't I? And for hosting, I simply tell my guests to expect me to retire early. I simply tell them if I don't get my rest, I'll be grouchy the next day. Then I go draw a bath, do some reading by myself and know that they are adults and don't need entertainment every hour of the day. Sometimes I announce I'm going to have a nap now and offer them some alternatives for entertaining themselves until I re-emerge from my cave.

This is part of who you are. People who love you or care about you need to know it so they can learn about you. How can they respect those needs if you don't communicate them?

I'm glad you got this experience and really hope it helps you learn more about the care and feeding of Olivia. :) Love, K

Olivia said...

Kelly,

I really love your examples and it helps me SO to read the details. Both here and on your blog.

I truly could have done this, I know. And when I would, it would be saying, as Chani wrote, "It's okay to be who I am, the way I am." Even if you think I'm very, very weird. Or very selfish (a trigger word for me from childhood).

I think my next company, come mid-August, will be a great test of this. It is a close elderly friend of mine, so it should feel safe and easy for me to try this out with her. It will definitely be a BE BRAVE task, but I will prepare ahead of time by letting the value of this sink in between now and then.

I like the term "retire". That's what people used to do years ago. The wind-down time before bed. I really like that.

Thank you, Kelly!

xxoo,

O

Olivia said...

Thank you again, Chani, Rick, and Kelly, for being such wonderful mentors for me in this area!!

Jane said...

O,

Something that I have to work through with myself is the "people pleaser" in me. I rarely have company anymore but if I did, I imagine that I would get anxious before hand that everyone has the perfect time.

I'm a bit of an intovert and extrovert. I'm always striving to find that balance. I think it's important to do those intovert things if they calm you and recharge you. A true friend or family member will accept and understand that you may need to hibernate during their visits....even if it's just for small periods of time here and there.

Olivia said...

Thank you Jane, for sharing your experience too. I agree with what you write about someone being a true friend or family member. And if they are not a true friend or family member; honestly I can't afford to care or to try to please them. Peace and blessings and love today, O

Anonymous said...

olivia,

i can REALLY relate to this. i've always noticed that my friends tend to want to go out and socialize after work and they have visitors every weekend or go off to visit someone -- this rejuvenates them, whereas for me, i have to have time by myself -- LOTS of it.

i think it just means you're an introvert. like me. :)

~ruby

Olivia said...

Yes, indeed, ruby! It's fun that you and most of my other blog friends are introverts. In my real life, my friends usually are not.

I'm right there with you on the LOTS! Especially during times of stress.

Peace and love,

O