We had a social event this evening after work to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a coworker’s time with the company. Ok, it was happy hour. What I find interesting about the term “happy hour” is that most people seem to require alcohol to be happy. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, I’m happy and act that way even before alcohol gets involved. Give me one and a half mixed drinks and I’m not only happy, but I’m more likely to be extraverted about my happiness. Thank goodness it only takes 1.5 drinks to be more extroverted. Otherwise, I’m afraid the world couldn’t take it. 🙂
The fact of the matter is that, although most people think I’ve always been extroverted, I have not always been extroverted. I often joke about the fact that the older I get, the crazier and zanier I become. When I was in my 20’s, I was quite responsible, dutiful and quiet. I had to be. I became a mother at the age of 22, which I thought was quite mature, but now realize is very young. After my divorce in 1991, at the age of 29, I watched people and observed who created more happiness in the world and who was most acceptable. I realized that the people who created the most happiness put themselves out there to create happiness. I had already discovered that if I put myself out there, I often made people laugh. They loosened up. They were relaxed and happy. So, I practiced. I put myself out there. I let my zany freak girl out of the box! If there was an awkward social pause, I was your girl. I’d jump in, say something to get the conversational ball rolling, and then sit back and let everyone else talk. Since I was involved with a Christian singles’ group, I was never drinking in these situations. I just had a lot of fun and realized that I was learning much about people and human nature in the process.
Over the years, there have been times when Zany Elaine/Dee came out of hiding to lighten up a mood, relax people, and create a warm environment for others. I never know when she’s going to come out, but when she does, even I can be surprised. So, why am I discussing this tonight? Because Zany Elaine/Dee came out and, as is often the case with people who aren’t naturally extroverted, I tend to analyze myself when the zany girl comes out. I worry that people will think I’m an airhead, that I have no deeper side, no intelligence, no true beliefs or meaning. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love God, I love people, I love life. I’m not a wild and crazy girl 95% of the time. I pray all day long. I talk to God on behalf of other people. I praise Him for all He has done for me, for others, and for all the love He gives me on a moment to moment basis. I study God’s word every day. I write constantly, exploring the big questions of life such as, “Why am I here? What is my purpose? What would Jesus do?” I often beat myself up because I think Jesus wouldn’t act like the nut job that I do. The one thing I have in common with Jesus is that I love God and I love people. How I express that, perhaps, isn’t quite so appropriate. Or maybe it is, for me. I don’t know. I’m 52 years old and I’m still not sure how best to serve God and be like Jesus. All I know is that I’m still trying and still seeking to find the answers. Hopefully I’ll discover soon what it’s all about. If not, Lord help us all when I’m 80! I’ll be hugging strangers at every opportunity and telling inappropriate stories too. I’m sure none of us want that. 🙂