I’d rather be with my dogs.

“Complex emotions, from the limbic brain, are the reason mammals succeeded – the reason we survived when the dinosaurs did not. We are social and emotional creatures from start to finish.”

Harry S. Lodge, MD

Introvert. Extrovert. Who am I? I really wasn’t sure. I love spending time with friends. Laughing. Talking. Sharing. But I work hard at being social. Getting out there. Meeting new people. Organizing events to bring people together. It is important to me and necessary. But. It is exhausting. My anxiety kicks in. I am tired from my day. More often than not I find myself wishing I could just stay at home with my dogs. Open a bottle of wine. Find a comfortable chair. Put my feet up. And feel the inevitable presence of a wet nose or two nudging their way into my palm for a little love. Introvert. Heaven.

But I know from experience that too many nights of a comfortable chair feels lonely. It depletes me. It too, exhausts me. I have realized through all this that I am, after all, an extrovert. Who knew. I am an extrovert who enjoys my own company. Needs my own company. And my dogs. Don’t forget my dogs.

My extroverted self is struggling. It is craving humans. And not over a phone. Real live humans. Even though the 2-legged’s frustrate me more often than not, they also challenge me. They make me think. They make me laugh. They make me to love. (Grudgingly some days). I have recently read my new favorite book “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, MD.

If you know me, you are probably sick of hearing me rave about this book. And if you know me, you know you may as well just get over it cause you know I won’t shut up about it. As the title implies, it promotes a healthy lifestyle. Part 1 talks about how incredibly important exercise and diet are to lead a healthy active lifestyle well into your golden years. Aging is not mandatory, it is optional. For awhile anyways. A long while if you put in the effort. I know, I know… preaching again.

But part 2. Part 2 – and so interesting that this book came into my life (thank you big sister Audrey) at a time when we are going through encouraged isolation. Part 2 talks about how important social interaction is for us humans. Pardon me. Not important. Essential. I get it now. ESSENTIAL! Yes I am yelling at you in all caps. The truth is we need each other. Yup I said it. I need you. You will probably annoy me from time to time. Okay, not probably. But I still need you.

Now here is the other thing. My part 3. And a pretty good part if I do say so myself. When we ‘extrovert’, we get to choose. We get to choose who we want to human with. Honestly we do. Choose wisely. Surround yourself as much as you can with people who energize you. A lot of our social interaction is still limited so take advantage of this time. Be selective. Don’t answer the call from someone who is going to bring you down. (They don’t know you are screening – they can’t see you!) Pick up the phone and call the one that lifts you up. (And video chat them so they can see you!) And I say PICK UP the phone… yes I am yelling again. Don’t wait for them to call you. Be social. It’s important and it’s healthy.

So. Be an extrovert. Work at it and be selective. Choose those who challenge you. Those who make you think. Those who make you laugh. Those who make you love.

Choose those who make you love.

“Human contact, intimacy, is critical to good health. And the absence of it is devastating. Love saves lives.”

Chris Crowley

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