I consider myself an introvert. That doesn’t mean I’m shy or that I hate people. It just means that I enjoy being alone and sometimes find it exhausting to be in social situations.
Teaching is an inherently social profession. In my most recent position, I taught 140 different students each day. That’s a lot of people. I was always drained and exhausted after school.
Weekends were my time to relax by myself. I just wanted to read a book, watch some TV, and lie around on my couch. My spouse was often frustrated that I never wanted to go out and do anything. I complained that until he started teaching high schoolers, he had no right to complain about my self-imposed exile from the world.
But now that I don’t spend 8 hours a day (why are Georgia school days so darn long?) wrangling adolescents into learning, I have a lot more energy for other people.
When I quit my teaching job, I was worried I would get all lonely and sad because I wouldn’t see my coworkers or the kids any more. On the contrary, now that I work alone, I get amped up to meet up with people for Team Trivia, or Book Club, or a walk in Piedmont Park, or dinner.
My whole friend-making quest has been going a lot better because I actually have the time and energy to make friends. Hurray!