personality, student life

How can an introvert find contentedness in a world that won’t slow down?

Introverts often need more time to process and react to what is going on around them compared to extroverts, but that doesn’t stop the world from speeding right on by them. I made a video to try to answer the question I pose in the title of this post:

This video and post is for anyone who has ever felt stuck in the rat race. Maybe you’re in that place right now. Me, I’m just a few months away from finishing my undergraduate degree, and that freaks me out a bit (meaning, a lot).

Transitions, whether between jobs or homes or relationships, might come to mind for you. So much pressure exists in these situations to not fail. Or perhaps your everyday life constantly seems like too much. Where does your comfort come from when everything around you seems to flash by too fast?

A slower lifestyle may be preferable to you as an introvert. But how can you achieve this? Photo credit: Me, 2014.
A slower lifestyle may be preferable to you as an introvert. But how can you achieve this? Photo credit: Me, 2014.

I don’t know your situation, but I do know that making a change starts with changing your state of mind. And a good state of mind to have when your world won’t slow down for you is to recognize that it’s okay to like a slower pace.

It’s okay to want to think about what someone has said before responding.

It’s okay to feel like turning down some social invitations.

It’s okay to prefer to spend your lunch hour away from others.

It’s okay to need extra time to make an important life decision.

Of course, there is social etiquette that you may think you have to follow. Before I address that, let me state that I’m not saying that you should be a jerk to anyone who tries to move into your ‘me time.’ (Especially since they might not know that that’s your ‘me time’…) But a lot of social etiquette doesn’t take into account that people are made differently.

You may feel that if you turn down a lot of invitations or choose to leave the building during lunch, you’ll get judged negatively. And you could, of course, but as the saying goes,

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

– Bernard Baruch (Not Dr. Seuss, unlike what I’ve always thought!)

Don’t leave your life on cruise control because that’s the easiest way to get by. Go by whatever speed works best for you—there is no minimum or maximum limit. But also don’t be that jerk who chooses to merge into the next lane at the very last second.

What do you do specifically to keep your life at a pace that is comfortable for you? How do you struggle with this?

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