I have written a few times about being highly sensitive. I have learned to honor this quality in my daily life. For example, although I consider myself very people- and performance-oriented (after all, I am a musician and teacher), after interacting with a lot of people I tend to need time to myself to recharge. Although the center of many a day are the social interactions I have, afterwards I tend to crave being in a low-stimulation environment where I can decompress and think. It seems that a little goes a long way for me.
Regarding stimulation of any kind, I have always been like this. I remember as a child, I didn’t put more than ketchup on my hot dog (if even that), because for me, the hot dog by itself was taste a-plenty! In fact, that has always been true for my food tastes: some people love loads of dressings, and ample spices, tantalizing (for them) taste sensations of spicy, hot, or sour. I’ll take mild, or, if I’m feeling daring, moderate 🙂
Today I did a four-hour rehearsal at the high school where I am working on a musical. Though I found it incredibly inspiring and rewarding, and came home in great spirits after being of service in a way I find especially satisfying, I craved the quiet and the relative dark of being at home alone. I watched a movie in our bedroom with the lights off, and later took a quick cat nap.
This has been fairly normal for me after these rehearsals. I remember one Saturday, after coming back from a six-hour rehearsal that day (as well as having a performance and a rehearsal the previous night), I was so exhausted and ready to check out that my wife and I just watched movies all night.
For a long time I was pretty critical of this sensitivity. I preferred to think of myself as being capable of anything: go out there and conquer the world! As if I always had to be Mr. Gregarious, as if being an extreme extrovert were clearly preferable to the alternative. And while I still tend to think of myself as capable of just about anything 🙂 , I find that when it comes to physical stimulation, I often seem to have a cap or limit.
Frankly, I am happier now accepting this fact and adjusting accordingly.
So for me, here has been ideal “productive” weekend day in recent months:
- wake up and go on jog
- go to the cafe and write for a few hours
- play a nice piano show, or do a fun music rehearsal with others
- be done by, say, 3 or 4pm
- have a “thrilling” night at home watching a movie with my wife
Wow, what adventure! What action! What excitement!
Okay, maybe not so much.
But then again, a little goes a long way for me.