I recently began volunteering at a local animal shelter. Once I had returned home from my first stint there, I realized that I had boundless energy. Then it dawned on me: my renewed energy was a direct result of the fast-pace of working the shelter’s front desk – answering the busy phones, researching answers, escorting visitors to see the cats and dogs, and greeting folks as they came to visit.
I realized that I had been missing what I have always needed in my life: face-to-face interaction with people, the unpredictability of what they need, and having to think rapidly on my feet. What an adrenaline rush!
Just to be clear I don’t make it a habit to completely shun contact with people. It’s just that I work from my home now, which has many benefits. The downside is my minimal social interactions with groups of people. And interacting with grocery cashiers, waitresses, etc. obviously wasn’t fulfilling my need for feeling a part of the larger fabric of society.
So the lesson I have learned is that the things that fed my soul back in my former, high-paced career, are still necessary in my life for me to feel fully alive. Not all the time, but just enough for me to get my “fix”. It makes the peace and quiet so much more enjoyable in contrast. The benefit of my new lifestyle is that I get to decide when, where and how much interaction I will get.
What might you be ignoring in your life – something that is an integral part of the real you?