I saw this prompt this morning and my heart gave a little pitter-pat. Oh, what a perfect word to describe so many aspects of my life. I’m part of a family business built on hospitality – it’s why I do food photography, paint, ride, cook, and, well, pretty much exist at times.
Me. Photo courtesy of my Pixie-in-law.
So why am I writing this post at 10:02 PM? Because Things Happened Today. We had some new employees coming in: they had to be met, laughed with, made to feel welcome, fed, and sent off with full bellies. Lunch for 15, dinner for 18. I could have made a bit of time earlier today, I suppose, but I was working on some other projects for the business. Then there was dessert with a family sort of party to celebrate Mother’s day.
Take a gander at that day.
Does that sound like the day of an introvert?
Hi, I’m a nomadic troglodyte and an introvert in the hospitality industry. I suppose paradoxes are something in my nature.
If you’re familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality types, you may have heard of INFJs. We’re one of the rare ones, and hard to spot, at that. That’s because we can pretend to be extroverted really really well.
I’m not magical, though. I am still an introvert. I only recharge in very small groups of quiet people or in solitude (however much I might enjoy some time with company). My mother always wanted me to get out and meet kids my age, so I was often introducing myself (awkwardly) to some poor child with which the only thing we had in common was the year of our birth. As much as I truly loathed it, it taught me a valuable skill. I can talk to anyone. I’d always rather do it with a friend if that ‘anyone’ is a total stranger, but I can do it. Some other introverts might have a panic attack at the idea, so that’s something I have going in my favor.
On the other hand, I have to pace myself. I know if I go all out right now, come August, I’m going to want to crawl into my shell and never come out. Dying alone sounds like a blessing.
Winter is a long stretch without much in the way of company for the business, and certainly very little to do with crowds. I forget, actually, that there is anything pleasant to do with people. Then I meet someone pleasant in May or rekindle an old acquaintance, and I remember that there is a joy to be found in interacting with others of my species.
Being an introvert in the hospitality industry is a shaky business. You have to draw very curious little lines around your time to yourself, your time to get things done, and your time to laugh it up with the people (who walk away and write nice reviews on travelocity.com about how funny and warm their hosts were). I hit it all today, or at least it felt like I did.
I may be teaching our guests how to paint the scenery this summer, so I needed to experiment with that. My pixie-in-law was kind enough to assist. I had to meet three new people and sit and talk and listen to those people. We laughed and joked, and now I’m home. It’s quiet and dark outside. All of my ducks and chickens are fed and watered.
I’ll be up early to do it all over again tomorrow morning.
So here’s just a little reminder for all my introverts out there: it is okay to be a paradox. Laugh and enjoy and expend yourself! Just don’t forget to come home and center yourself at the end of the day.