It was a damp, bleak Saturday morning — a disappointing introduction to the weekend in which I was looking forward to bringing myself and the dogs to meet friends at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC). I was mentally prepared to kick off spring festivities with the Green River Revival, watching as USNWC’s resident leprechaun transformed the river green for St Patrick’s Day while imbibing, socializing outdoors and listening to live music. Instead, I opted to stay indoors, cozy on the couch as a late-winter storm was forecasted to dump snow and other precipitation from Tennessee to Maine.
The fur babies were by my side, sleeping softly. I wasn’t experiencing FOMO or disappointed with this last-minute change of plans at all. After two years of the pandemic, I consider myself lucky in many ways — one of them being able to fully embrace my inner introvert. After all, being alone doesn’t necessarily lead to feelings of loneliness.
Like so many others during the pandemic, I have proudly evolved into a plant parent. Flash-in-the-pan trend or not, I plan to continue nurturing my green thumb.
Last weekend, during a break between spring grad courses, I attended a plant workshop at PlantHouse on Park Road. If you haven’t been, please put it on your to-do list. You can enjoy an alcoholic drink from their bar, stroll through their plant jungle, pick out the perfect house plant/pot combination, build a terrarium, or sign up for a workshop.
I attended the Kokedama plant workshop, the Japanese word for moss ball. Yes, I paid to make a moss ball. And yes, even introverted personalities need social stimulation from time to time. But the zen experience was also paired perfectly with a girl-gang hang-out session and red wine from the PlantHouse bar. The event, followed by sushi and more wine, met my socialization quota for the month. Hence, I do not feel the weight of missing out on Green River Revival festivities.
Instead, I was able to hang out with my dogs, wear fuzzy socks, drink coffee and gaze at my neatly crafted moss ball nestled on its window ledge. One week later, I can confirm it is still alive. Another green thumb success in the books!
The past two pandemic years have also rekindled my love for the great outdoors. When not toiling in my greenhouse trying not to kill my plant babies, my husband and I have been keen to explore areas of North Carolina that have typically been on our peripheral.
Last weekend, we made our best effort to trek Daffodil Flats in Linville Gorge, a popular but challenging 5.30-mile out-and-back hike. Yes, people with introverted personalities enjoy time spent outdoors, and hiking is a glorious excuse to be alone with your thoughts!
After driving two hours out from Charlotte, the last stretch of road (about six miles) was a gravel road. Once parked, we walked about a mile with the pups in unseasonably warm weather but decided to turn around. Because the weather was too balmy for the baby beasts, we could only envision carrying them on the return route, which would have been straight up the side of a mountain.
We tucked tail and hit the road towards Catawba Brewing in Morganton, where the popular White Zombie brewer opened their original location and still has its production facility. While the trail may not have been dog-friendly, the brewery certainly was! Daffodil Flats bloom annually only for a few weeks in March, so instead of feeling totally bummed out, we plan to return next weekend for a second attempt.
The key takeaways from the misadventure were the need to invest in an all-wheel-drive vehicle and not hike with our four-legged friends when we genuinely want to feel nurtured by nature.
Being at home has also allowed the time for self-nurturing I did not know I needed. Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality assessment? I am an Advocate, which means I have dominant Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging (INFJ) personality traits. Advocates are the rarest personality types, which means everyone in my circle should feel blessed to have me in their lives (just kidding).
But seriously, when I learned I am an INFJ, I understood much more about myself! This type of personality combination can be perplexing; I can speak up for others but am soft-spoken otherwise. The transition from party girl (my college identity) to introvert (my adult, professional identity) has been wonderful, surprising, and completely unexpected.
The past few years have led me to turn over a new leaf and embrace my strong but silent personality type. This leads me to a whole new set of worries: Will my career stagnate if I choose not to network? Will my long-time friends relinquish our relationships?
While I don’t know the outcome of such worries, I will continue nurturing my introverted personality through passion projects such as writing and gardening. And after 38 years on this planet, giving less fucks about what anyone else thinks about it may give me the freedom for growth I’ve been looking for.