October 1st, 2017

An Introvert Walks Into a Bar...

byMich Manaras
Blog

I’ve always been a self-proclaimed loner, an introvert, a guy who could tolerate the outside world but in small doses who’d usually much rather be alone.

This much has been true for the better part of my life. From the teenager who stayed in on weekends learning to play guitar to the college kid who’d rather eat apple pie and watch 60 minutes on his bed than go out. Even through my 7 year stint as an olympic weekend warrior, I’d only replaced my creative hours with hard partying ones. I was still alone most of the time.

For the most part I’d go to work, rush home. I’d briefly hang with family, rush home. Decline dinners and get togethers, rush home. I was always much more comfortable in the confines of my solitude.

And when I quit drinking, I made it even more of a point to not go out and socialize because I convinced myself it was all fueled by fire and not worth my time.

Life did change, my routines changed, I got much healthier, I got fit, my work-life changed and I’m here today writing a blog. There’s no way I could’ve done this if I didn’t have all that crucial alone time, right? There’s no way I’d be making music if I didn’t give up on the social scene, right?

Well, I’m starting to realize… Yes and no.

Sure it requires a certain headspace and discipline to be creative and put out work, absolutely. But at the same time there are 168 hours in a week, and other than the 56 hours reserved for sleep, there’s no way 112 hours can go purely towards creativity. Even with 8 hour days of work it still leaves a hell of a lot of time to fill.

I know I’m throwing a lot of numbers out there, but I’m starting to realize the “alone time” might just be an excuse to stay in my comfort zone. There’s only so much time I can productively be creative during the week, only so much time I can work out in the gym, or eat or sleep. What am I doing with all the leftover time?

Am I being an introvert or an artist? Or am I hanging around in the dark watching Jean-Luc Picard on repeat? Or am I staring at my Youtube growth, one subscriber at a time?

In the last little while I’ve felt the urge to just go out, fighting off the bizarre sentiment of “you should be home writing right now”. I’ve been staying out later, shooting the breeze with old friends and new, I even went out to a bar last night!

Believe it or not, I had some great conversations as I sipped my bottle of sparkling water. I was hopping around from one person to the next, talking about everything and nothing; I felt energized.

I can remember when I was a salesman on the road for my dad’s company, last night reminded me of all the unexpected things that happened just because I was out there. Planning and plotting behind my computer screen would never have allowed for Dan the Door Guy to introduce me to Steve the other door guy who happened to be passing by, who eventually introduced me to Mary the Door Queen!

You get what I mean.

I’ve been so caught up in “working on my craft” and hiding behind my computer screen that I pigeon-holed myself as “the creative type who doesn’t socialize” when in fact it isn’t true. I really enjoy getting out there and meeting people. And to actually give my art a chance, not only do I have to take breaks but I also have to go out and meet people, surf the wave of good vibes, and only then can things start to materialize.

Despite all the songs or blogs I’ve written, I’ve only been giving myself about a 50% shot, probably much less. The great joy I get from writing is one thing, but to spend the other half of my time waiting rather than creating new opportunities because “I’m not that guy” is really ridiculous, now that I think about it.

Am I really just an introvert, do I really have to box myself in like that? I really do enjoy peace and quiet and time to reflect and create. But I also get a high from getting out there and shooting the shit with people, learning from them, experiencing and creating in a new sense.

I am whatever I say I am. If I tell myself I’m a recluse, then that’s what I’ll eventually become. If I tell myself I like to get out and meet people, then there’s another avenue for me to explore.

It’s easy to label and I naturally categorize everything; if I can box it in, I can explain it in very clear terms. But the truth is if I really liked being alone all the time, would I really be watching old reruns on Netflix and scrolling thru Instagram? Would I be battling the cupboard full of goodies or maniacally watching my view count creep up?

Probably not.

I went out to bar last night with my friends, I had a positive attitude and consequently had a very positive experience. I saw old friends, made some new ones, met a guy who knows a producer who wants to chat and boom, just like that, something happened, even if it didn’t I was still energized by the good time. But none of it couldn’t have happened while I watched the monster of the week on the U.S.S. Enterprise!

Am I an introvert? Sometimes. Am I an extrovert? Sometimes.

Honestly, there’s enough time in a day to be both!

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