Walking While Introverted

It was my celebrity stalker moment. I waited 30 minutes for the band U2 to arrive for their concert at FedEx Field near Washington DC. There were a couple dozen of us hoping Bono would stop and say hi before going into the stadium. Truthfully, I felt a little silly, but I was attending the concert alone so I could wait as long as I wanted.

That’s one of the benefits of doing things alone…lots of flexibility.

I’m an introvert. I don’t mind flying solo every now and then. In fact, I’ve learned the hard way that I actually need it.

I’ll go to Oriole games by myself. Usually, I’ll buy the cheapest ticket available just to get into the stadium and then spend the game walking around and stopping at different areas that allow fans to stand and watch the action. And, when I’m done, I’ll leave.

217I also love walking around Washington DC alone. On a Saturday morning, it takes me less than an hour to get from our driveway to my favorite coffee shop near the US Capitol. After grabbing coffee and something to eat I’ll walk and explore for a couple hours. I’m usually home by lunchtime.

120But, my all-time favorite alone experience happened the weekend I turned 50. I’ve always wanted to see a real rocket launch. That’s not something that happens living in Maryland. As the Space Shuttle program was winding down, I discovered there was a scheduled launch on my 50th birthday. I thought, “How cool would that be?”

My wife, Ava, was the administrator of a small school and the year end-graduation ceremonies were on my birthday. Because she was in charge, I knew she’d be busy all day. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but turning 50 felt different and I would probably get annoyed with the lack of attention. So, I decided to go to Florida and watch a rocket launch.

Alone.

Ava was fine with it. I suspect she might even have been a little relieved being able to focus fully on the graduation and not have to deal with her sulking husband off to the side.

The first rule of rocket launches is this: They never happen when they’re scheduled. There’s always something that causes a delay of a few hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months. In other words, I was taking a BIG RISK flying to Florida for a launch that most likely would not happen on my birthday.

But, it did.

It launched ON TIME and was amazing! NASA lit for me the biggest birthday candle ever. I was alone on my 50th birthday and loved it. We celebrated as a family after I returned home.

IMG_5346Introverts need alone time to recharge. Extroverts are energized being around people. That’s the best definition I’ve heard about the difference between the two.

And, it’s not that introverts don’t like people. My best concert experience ever was seeing Paul McCartney with my daughter. She knew more of the Beatles songs than I did. It was awesome!

I enjoy going to see the Orioles with others. Last season, my son Aaron and I went together and arrived early so we could watch batting practice and snag a ball. He was more successful than me. Lots of fun.

My favorite DC moments involve being there with other people. Ava went with me last summer and I loved showing her all the fun places I’ve discovered. My daughter and I were there a few years ago to see the Cherry Blossoms and it became a walk I’ll never forget.

One of my favorite events each year is the Christmas brunch we host at our house. Last year we had more than 30 people. As everyone started filling their plates around 10a, I stopped to soak it all in and thoroughly enjoyed the moment. Good food, nice conversations, and fun memories were made that morning.

But, by early afternoon I was drained. I was getting annoyed with stuff and just needed to be alone to recharge and found little opportunities to slip away for a few minutes every now and then. It really helped.

I wish I had understood this dynamic when our children were younger. Ava and I have six kids. The first five were born within seven years. We waited five years before our last child, Emma, was born. Life was more than a little crazy.

I’ve always understood that I’m an introvert, but my desire for alone time also felt wrong…especially with a house full of little kids. It felt selfish. Ava knew me better than I knew myself. She would encourage me to get away, but I didn’t. To this day, I’m not clear what I was thinking and why I didn’t.

I regret that.

Looking back, it feels like I was always parenting with a deficit of emotional energy. I was drained. And, I get it. Parenting is exhausting. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert or whether you have one child or ten. In that season of life we all feel drained. I wish now I understand how important time is for me to recharge. It’s not selfish. I’m a better version of myself when this is part of my day. I just wish I had understood this when life was not as quiet.

Today our house is quiet as all our children have moved out. I have plenty of opportunities for time alone and a lot of time for quiet walks which I enjoy. If you’re also an introvert, take advantage of walking! It’s perfect for recharging your emotional battery. Don’t simply try and power through and regret that years later. The people in your world want the best version of you!

And, in case you’re wondering…I did see Bono…through the rolled down window as his SUV was going into the stadium.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY

If 2020 derailed your fitness journey this would be a great time for a restart. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert walking for fitness is filled with great benefits. The 30 Day Fitness Challenge is a powerful way to begin a new fitness journey. Most fitness goals end in failure because they start way too big. Setting the right goal at the beginning is critical!

This free guide will help you do that. It also includes a contract you sign to keep your daily commitment. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but it can be just the motivation you need on a day where keeping your fitness commitment feels too hard.

Every day you reach your goal is a WIN. This guide also includes a a 30 Day Tracker to help you celebrate each of those wins. It’ll feel really good as you track these. But, more importantly it’ll help you build fitness momentum that will last.

You can get started today with The 30 Day Fitness Challenge.

It’s probably no surprise to learn that most people who set a fitness goal don’t finish. The first 30 days are the most critical!

If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the Fitbit Inspire HR. This is the Fitbit I use to track my 20,000 steps a day. The Inspire HR also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress.

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(By the way…if you use the link above to buy a Fitbit Inspire HR this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)

Lastly, this blog is designed to help you embrace walking as a fitness activity. It’s sustainable, flexible, effective, and fun. Every week I post new articles with stories and helpful suggestions to Win at Fitness.

If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone…to the right and above on your computer) you’ll receive an email with a link to each new blog post.