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Social choices

Since the sun is rising later, I'm getting more time on clear mornings to sit outside and write before being blinded by it. Would love to learn to use that time well, because I'm just better when I'm regularly taking the time to write.

Spent the evening at Paul & Jenna's yesterday. Kind of a tough choice, since we were also invited to an end-of-summer party with lots of church friends, but A) it's always fun to hang out with Paul & Jenna, and 2) hanging with church folks in larger groups often feels like work to me, especially on Saturday nights (with Sunday morning so soon on its way). It's easy for me to assign the latter feeling to the "grumpy old man" category, but when I really think about it, the picture becomes more clear:
  • I'm an introvert, so bigger gatherings always take more from me.
  • That kind of thing is also often filled with small talk, another thing that's not a favorite. I need to use as much small-talk energy as I can muster each Sunday morning (I often go over what other people are going to want to talk about—weather, sports, current events, etc.—before work starts, because I find most of it mind-numbingly boring, but it's what others want), so I don't need to be depleting it the night before.
  • Sometimes there are games. Yeesh.
  • Other than the small talk, what most church people know how to talk with me about is, not surprisingly, work. It's possible some of that would change if I spent more time with them, but a party isn't a good venue for that and has too broad of an audience than can realistically know me well anyway.
  • I do like smaller gatherings—having dinner together, etc. When I thought of having dinner with nearly anyone I might chat with at a party, I realized I would probably enjoy that. This was really helpful, as that realization countered my internal accusation that I "just don't like people."
Part of being both limited and semi-public is that I'll need to say no more often than I can say yes, and I'm not abandoning my Christian call to sacrifice for others by passing on some things that just don't fit. Neither do I want it to be all about my "living authentically," because I've seen so many people go completely off the rails in pursuit of that pseudo-psychological goal that it makes me angry just to think about it. There's a difference between boundaries and narcissism, and as in all things, I have Someone to follow who won't lead me astray.


...that realization countered my internal accusation that I "just don't like people."

I also tend to think that I "just don't like people", and I've come to the same realization--although not so consciously (until now!) I DO like people, I like a lot of people, I just don't like a lot of people all in one place. I go to a knitting group and I find that I like it best when there are just a few of us. Any more than three or four (tops!) people, and I'm overwhelmed.
Yeah, it's funny—I could tell anyone else that it's OK for introverts to be limited in how much time we spend with others, especially in large groups. Yet when I assess myself and how many times I want to say "no," I still assume I'm being a jerk somehow.
What the heck does 'living authentically' mean anyway? I mean, I get it in theory, but the term itself is just so cheesy and loaded and not useful. Like the rest of the world is living fakely, somehow? Bah.

/grumpy rant
I wish I didn't hear phrases like this as often as I do. It sounds like a caricature, but people really say this stuff! And my experience of it is thoroughly postmodern—it can mean something, but it doesn't have to mean anything at all! Regrettably, when I hear stuff like this, it's almost invariably PoMo code for "doing whatever I want while taking away anyone else's right to judge what I'm doing."

Plus, it's just snotty a lot of the time, for exactly the reason you cite.