Out And About
I consider myself an introvert. There’s nothing better to be in solitude to reflect on my life or to read up on a good book or to watch a nice Oscar worthy movie. Those type of activities get my juices flowing. They allow me to think back and reflect on what I did well and what can be improved upon. They help me think upon the issues that are sprouting up in society today.
Overall, I enjoy being by myself. I don’t feel too lonely for the most part. I know that I have good friends and family by my side that are ready to support me if or when I fall. And I am thankful for that.
But these days, I’m trying to make an effort to get back to in-person social events, slowly but surely. I’ve been hanging out with my friends throughout the COVID pandemic, but it’s mainly been in a one-to-one setting, simply because I feel more comfortable expressing my thoughts in that type of format.
There’s something about meeting someone face-to-face, one-to-one, that allows me to fully express myself and fully focus on one person. I’d rather much prefer that than a typical networking event, where you’re making small talk through numerous groups – jumping from one social session to the other. It is, quite frankly, quite tiring.
However, I’m starting to scour for opportunities to do just that. Recently, I went to a ACMA (Academy of Classical Musicians and Artists) recital. I think it was my first time going to an in-person classical concert in multiple years. I saw the organizer of the event, and he similarly remarked that he hadn’t seen me for two years. It almost felt like I crawled out of a cave to meet these people again.
It was a nice environment. I got to enjoy some musical arts and was inspired by some of the performances of my peers. And it’s kind of made me want to get back into performing this year once other recitals roll around. I’ll see what I can do about that.
But it’s also an adjustment as well. I haven’t been to in-person social events in so long. I felt kind of uncomfortable just stepping foot into the room with the gaze of so many people all around me. It wasn’t a novel experience by any stretch of the imagination. It just takes some getting used to.
I feel like, despite COVID still ever-present, people are letting their guard down and socializing as if there were no pandemic in the world. I’m similarly getting a bit angsty about doing more in-person social events as well. And I hope that I continue to stay safe throughout this pandemic.
I guess humans – regardless of whether they be introvert or extrovert – still have an innate desire for human connection. For finding deeper meaning in the day-to-day interactions of people. And it’s harder to do that when everything is through Zoom calls and virtual sessions.
My Toastmasters club is also considering moving back to a hybrid meeting format – where there are opportunities to communicate both in-person and virtually. I’m not sure what I think about that. On the one hand, in-person human interactions cannot be duplicated. On the other, it obviously puts us at greater risk to get COVID. So, I don’t know. Everything seems like a double-edged sword these days.
But I do feel that innate urge to meet more people in person and to simply go out and about. Sometimes, I have this prejudice that I would be living a more fulfilling life if I go to more social events. However, when I do go to these events, I feel relatively the same if I go there versus if I don’t go there.
It’s hard to describe. One Saturday, I’d be filling up my calendar with social outings – from philosophy class to music recitals to a movie with a good friend in the evening. And then the next Sunday, I would be waking up at 1 PM and having a lazy day of solitude – going to the gym and doing nothing much else of anything. And both days, I feel relatively okay. I feel good. Nothing groundbreaking. It just is what it is.
So, sometimes, I don’t feel like we need to place too high of an expectation on social events. Yes, they are great to go to. But they are not the end all be all for everything. If you don’t feel like going, it’s quite okay to just say no and stay home and do other activities. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. I’d say that these group social events do have their place in society, but just don’t expect utter happiness and joy from going to them.
Keep your expectations realistic and just appreciate the mundane things in life – regardless of whether or not you’re out and about on a Saturday night. Keep a steady perspective and realize that most of us have it pretty good in this first world nation, regardless of how active our social lives are.
I’m simply grateful for my friends and my family. And to have a relatively drama-free existence. It really helps with inner well-being. And I will do my best to socialize responsibly for the foreseeable future.