Am I a mentor now?

There hasn’t been much writing going on lately. In trying to figure out why I just don’t want to write, the only thing I can come up with is the general feelings of overwhelm I’ve been dealing with over the past few weeks.

The stress of the holidays has certainly been part of that. Trying to balance time with family and friends, and time for myself during the last few weeks has left me limp. I get cranky and start shutting down when I feel over-committed, and it frankly doesn’t take much for me to feel over-committed these days. Stressing about work — thinking about it and berating myself for not feeling more motivated about it — has also taken it’s toll on me.

One of the things I’ve come to accept about myself over the past few years is that I’m an introvert, which means that in order to re-charge I need time away from hustle and bustle and people. I used to think being an introvert was a bad thing, but I’ve accepted that knowing what you need to feel your best is inherently good. Besides, it’s not as if I need to do something illegal or immoral — like torturing animals or bullying people — to feel good. I just need quiet time so I can let my mind wander and feel refreshed. (I can even find time to refresh in a crowded cafe, like right now. Often it is possible to be alone even in a crowd.)

Last night I spent some time talking with an old acquaintance who is going through a separation and divorce. I grew up next door to this guy, and while we don’t have much in common at this point, I did see him at a reunion gathering shortly after my divorce was final. He reached out to me last night via Facebook since he remembered that I had been divorced recently. Since I can be a pretty compassionate person I spent a bit of time talking with him.

I remember feeling that lonely and that desperate for human contact. I remember how scared it made me to lose the person I thought was my life companion. There was the desire to be coupled again, and the fear that I wouldn’t be able to do so; that I just would fail at dating.

Having close friends helped me through those times, and I think men are at a disadvantage here. This guy is conservative and “old school,” and many guys in his position have a less-developed support network.

So what did we talk about? I tried to let him talk as much as possible, since I know that is critical in these situations. But I did give him some advice. I told him to just focus on getting through the divorce right now and not to worry about dating yet. I seconded the suggestion another friend of his had made to join a Meetup so he could get out of the house and socialize a bit. (I also had to explain to him that Meetups aren’t necessarily dating networks, too.) And I told him that I completely understood those fears he was having of being alone.

I’m not alone now and I never have been. I’ve been blessed to have really great friends, and I’m grateful for each one of them. Nearly two years has gone by since my divorce, and I feel that I learned a lot from my marriage and the divorce. That’s the best outcome I could have asked for, too.

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5 thoughts on “Am I a mentor now?

  1. It’s great to hear that you are surrounded by wonderful friends. I am somewhat of an introvert too, and girls do seem to stick to each other a bit better than guys do, from what I’ve seen. Maybe it’s just the nature of the game. For me though, having a few people that are loyal and I can be loyal to is all I really need! A true friend is someone who will be there through thick and thin, and you’ll do the same for them.

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  2. I don’t know that I would call myself an introvert but I do need and love my alone time. When I was first divorced, I used to get panicked about the idea of a Saturday night at home alone. I think it’s so ingrained that if you’re single you should be out socializing. Now I’ve come to enjoy those evenings.

    I think when you start dating after divorce is a very individual time period. I have friends who started almost immediately. I’m only just now starting to feel ready so I like the advice you gave your friend.

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  3. I read two books recently on introversion – one is Introvert Power and the other is The Introvert Advantage – I think? Anyway, one of them (and sorry that I can’t remember which one) had a really cool chapter on the neuroscience of the brain and how it differs in introversion and extroversion – a bunch of stuff about dopamine receptors etc. etc. Basically that stimulation fires up adrenaline in extroverts and doesn’t in introverts. Good stuff anyway. But then most introverts kind of realize that stuff about themselves once they hit over 30 something. 🙂

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