In less than 24 hours, I’ll be leaving for Charleston, South Carolina where my wife and I will be boarding a cruise ship headed for the Bahamas. After a year of marriage, we’re finally taking a long-awaiting honeymoon/vacation.
Everyone has asked if I’m excited. Of course. But would you be surprised to know that I’m also terrified? I’m not worried about getting seasick or being stranded at sea or anything. I’m scared at the thought of taking a vacation. I’m not kidding.
I am an introvert.
I need–maybe need is too strong of a word–lots of quiet time in solitude. My introverted nature is great for Bible study, prayer, and meditation, but not so much for a populated cruise ship and hot vacation spot like the Bahamas. Six days of very little, if any, absolute alone time makes me really nervous. I mean, really, really nervous.
I know that that might be hard to understand. Even my wife, who is very accommodating of my introverted nature, cannot fully comprehend what it’s like to be an introvert. She, like most people, enjoys her alone time but is also quite outgoing and sociable. Most look forward to being at parties and social gatherings. I can enjoy it too, but only in smaller doses.
Even when I have an opportunity to visit family, I will eventually sneak off to be by myself for awhile. I love to spend time my family, but my sanity depends on quality alone time…daily. How will I ever get alone time on a cruise ship with my wife?
By the way, if you’re wondering how a church pastor can also be an introvert, I wrote about that not long ago.
I am a workaholic.
It’s not that I enjoy work more than other things. I believe this characteristic of mine goes hand-in-hand with the first I mentioned. When I’m working–on a website, writing, studying, recording a podcast, etc.–I have an excuse to be alone. While I have been known to burn myself out at times, it’s usually more refreshing to work than not.
When I say workaholic, I’m in my office sometimes 50 or more hours a week. That doesn’t include Bible study on Wednesday evenings or Sunday morning worship at my church. It also does not include my efforts to visit the widows and elderly. I once scoffed at a statistic which said church pastors work an average of 60 hours a week until I stopped to think about it.
Even a young introvert who loves what he does, such as myself, cannot maintain that pace forever. Furthermore, it’s not fair to my wife. She gives me the space I need when I need it. I should offer her my companionship when she needs it.
I am going to enjoy this vacation.
Like I said, I truly am excited about taking this cruise with my wife. First of all, I’m anxious for us to spend such quality time together. It doesn’t matter how many people will be on the boat, as far as I’m concerned, it’ll be just me and her. I’m made stronger by her presence and and would not trade the world for this woman God blessed me to be with.
Secondly, I’m anxious to unplug from the world. No phone calls. No text messages. No blogging. No tweets. No Facebook. No email. No studying. No writing. Nothing. I’ll carry a Bible for some light reading and one other book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. (Is that ironic?) Otherwise, nothing but rest and a few fun activities.
It is my strong hope that this vacation will be my reset button. I may not be able to change my introverted nature–well, I’ll wait to see what Susan has to say–but I can at least change my workaholic ways. I don’t want to come back to more 60-hour work weeks. In my never-ending pursuit of serenity and simplicity, I want this vacation to teach me something. Truth be told, I want to be forced out of my comfort zone this week. I want to learn the value of slowing down so that I might enjoy life even more.