Today you turned 15.
We encouraged you to celebrate with your friends, but you had other plans. You stayed home. You wore pajamas. You made a nest on the couch. You binged on a show that you've been hoping to watch for months. You ate amazing food.
Not a bad way to mark another turn around the sun. Not bad at all.
Perhaps I'd be worried if you always wanted to be home, loafing as you did so gloriously today, but in the past year you've grown into a remarkably social person. You look forward to school each day. You play soccer and lacrosse. You were asked to be a teacher's aide in both Chinese and French. You act in school plays. And I cannot begin to describe how proud I am that you have found friends who are — like you — smart, funny, compassionate and supportive.
So today you took it easy. You spent the day mostly by yourself. You gave some attention to the introverted side of your psyche. I think that was good. In fact, I think it was wise.
There's a silly thing humans do — something that seems as though it might be wired into us. We turn almost everything into a binary. There are masculine things and feminine things. There are cat people and dog people. There are liberals and conservatives. And there are introverts and extroverts.
How very ridiculous this is. For none of these things are so simple as either-or. The ambit of all that is before us is wide and varied and ripe for the picking. You never were simply an introvert. And you are not now an extrovert. You care for both of these parts of your identify. And that is healthy.
It's actually quite easy to lose yourself inside a label, because once you have a name for something — a epithet, for instance, like "introvert" or "extrovert" — then your brain forever has a shortcut for that conceptualization. You don't have to think as much.
In some ways, I suppose, this can be good. Why spend time reflecting on something you know to be true about yourself, right? You can spend that energy on something else. But when we stop thinking about these qualities that we have adopted and simply accept that they are what we are, we lose an avenue for growth and exploration.
This is all to say that while there is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted, I'm glad that you didn't decide that was who you are. And while there is nothing wrong with being social, I'm also glad that you have not decided that you need to be connected to others at all times. Your life is richer for the balance.
And mine is richer — so much richer — because you are in it.