I took an afternoon nap every single day of my bachelorette getaway in Palm Springs. My naps weren’t tequila-induced, and they certainly weren’t because we weren’t having fun. Between the sunny outings and lively dinners, I just needed a quick, quiet break to recharge my batteries.
I claimed to be an extrovert from childhood through college. It was a label I was proud to have. I loved making people laugh, and I was so flattered every time someone compared me to Chelsea Handler. I’ve been called “that loud, crazy blonde” more times than I can count. I wanted to be up for anything and down for everything, and thought “me time” was for boring people.
Spoiler alert: that attitude burned me out. Hard.
Through high school and college my quick fix for impending exhaustion was alcohol. Not in the mood to go out? I will be in a few shots! Not feeling funny/outgoing/charismatic/sociable? Vodka! Who needed “me time” when you had happy hour?
When that horrible philosophy caught up to me post-college, it was time for some major soul-searching. I’ll spare you the details for the sake of brevity, but sum it up with this: it’s OK to ditch the idea of who you think you are if it doesn’t feel right. If maintaining an image or subconsciously trying to fit a certain role is running you ragged, start from scratch.
When I stripped away the labels I’d clung to so fiercely – extrovert, class clown, party girl, to name a few – I realized I was expending all my energy trying to make them true. Sure, I still love making people laugh and no one would ever call me shy, but I’m a bonafide introvert. Unlike so many of my genuinely extroverted friends, I will never leave social settings feeling energized. I’m not always thrilled at the idea of a full social calendar. I need to turn off my iPhone, reject some invitations, and take my alone time… just like (gasp!) those boring hermits I’d always teased.
It can be difficult to set boundaries without seeming like a flaky person, especially when your personality still screams “life of the party.” Truthfully, it can be hard to maintain friendships with people who don’t understand why prioritizing alone time isn’t an insult to them.
I’m so appreciative that I have best friends who humored those bachelorette party naps – because let’s be real, I was a much more fun bride after recharging my batteries.
It’s healthy to identify what energizes you and to embrace it. It’s O.K. to realize you’re a three-dimensional person who loves her friends and a good party but can also say no to an invitation just to stay home. Find whatever fills you up, and make it a priority – I promise, I won’t take it personally.