Blueberry Picking: An Introverts Reflection on Life After the Pandemic

Exhaustion seems to seep down all the way into my very bones. This body that has been the source of so many of my frustrations just keeps going- even when it’s tired and battered and bruised. My mind feels tired too. Not the kind of restless tired that kept me up at night during the lonely weeks and months of isolation. But the kind of tired that feels like you’ve been gathering perfectly ripened blueberries for so long and it’s finally well past time to stop and eat a few. The mind- like the blueberry bucket- is full of sweet little treasures: moments, feelings, looks, a smile, kind words from a friend. But it’s hard to really soak it all in- to get that sweet, satisfying taste of blueberry flesh just popped into your mouth and warm from the sun. As an introvert, coming out of quarantine is a lot like going out to the biggest blueberry bush you’ve ever seen. It’s thrilling and fun and there are SO MANY sweet blueberries. The bushes have been untouched- the blueberries unpicked- and now there are so many that not even 5 minutes into picking them and your bucket is overflowing. Heavy it weighs on the hands that are no longer accustomed to the simple task. Joyous the thought of tasting so many sweet blueberries once again. Necessary the discernment to realize that when your bucket is full- even when it happens really fast- it’s time to head back inside and carefully wash those blueberries and prepare them to be stored. It’s beautiful to see and taste these blueberries. But we’ve grown a little less able to handle so many at one time.

My advice then, dear blueberry picker, is don’t let your bucket overflow to the point that those precious blueberries begin to spill. Take what you can and no more. For tomorrow the blueberry bush sits still, waiting and full of more blueberries. And after all- the best part about blueberries is savoring each and every one of them.

There is a certain peculiar satisfaction in being all peopled-out. For it means that- just as we should be- we were at the very least peopled. My heart tends to fall to the extreme end of introversion. And having too much time alone seemed almost a fictitious idea until I experienced long lasting isolation. At first my creative, introverted mind flourished. I found myself diving deeper into my creative outlets like writing and photography. But sure enough, there came a point where my creative juices were no longer flowing. I had no stories, no feelings or conversations or situations to process. Nothing was flowing out quite simply because neither was anything flowing in. And it was at this point I began to know a new type of exhaustion. I find myself tired but restless. Unmotivated and uninspired but unable to truly give my mind the challenge it so desperately longs for. Emotional and social boredom made me weary of days where my intuition and perception into hidden beauty served me little. For the first time I began to feel a touch of anxiety. It seemed that life would be this way forever.

But then the world shifted- or at the very least I did. As I came back to the world of social interactions and to people I found myself overjoyed to put on a happy face and greet old customs and friends. And now I face that more satisfying kind of exhaustion- the one that is achieved by working ones intuitions, mind, and senses. The one that makes me feel alive when at last I am alone again and free to practice the art of post-interaction discerning. My mind has become my escape- the one it has always been. Rather than the pandemic induced prison that isolation had so terribly kept me in.

Suddenly my introversion feels like the great gift it has always been. And I am ever so grateful to feel a little peopled-out once again. Like picking blueberries, I will happily feel my bucket with social interactions. But when my bucket gets full, it’s time to head home and empty it out again.

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