Perhaps it’s been somewhat too long since the last time I took time to sit and consider things important to me. This isn’t to say that I don’t “think” much normally–the commute to and from work provides plenty of daily opportunities for me to think, to say nothing of the occasional mental drift-aways that happen in the course of an uneventful workday. I mean, though, that the times when I solely dedicate time to consider issues important to me have become few and far between. I’m not really sure if this is good or bad.

I had read a New York Times article recently, entitled “Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?”, and found myself thinking about the two types of people termed “sitters” and “rovers” by the article author. For those without the inclination to read the rather interesting article, the two types of people can be described by the phrases “Look before you leap” (the hallmark of the sitter) and “Just do it” (the credo of the rover). Basically the article describes that that broad groups termed introverts and extroverts behave differently perhaps as evolutionary strategy and not, as some modern physicians or companies would have us believe, due to biological mis-function. In other words, that people who are shy and/or introverted are not patients who require a cure, but that they behave the way they do naturally.

You may be wondering why I’m thinking of sitters and rovers. I’m not certain where my natural inclinations lie. I think I was a rover child, then was taught by life experiences and Chinese/Taiwanese culture to value sitter traits, and it wasn’t until the latest years of high school and the recent years of college that I think my inner rover was able to truly stretch its legs. I wonder if I was the little rover who had to sit to fit in, or the little sitter who wanted to know what it felt like to rove, and if my natural inclination is to “just do” things. Those who know me might put me at the opposite end of the spectrum and label me a sitter–someone who looks before he leaps and carefully considers options. One might be able to reasonably postulate that the last few years of my life were a search for harmony between my rover and sitter inclinations.

I worry that I lose touch sometimes, with the search for purpose and the search for contentment. Working now in the nine-to-five corporate world, I’m finally experiencing the grind, and I can’t help but wonder if I’m being worn down or polished. Lately I think it’s a combination of both, unfortunately, despite taking on some more responsibilities at work and despite the few things I try to do to keep life lively. My relationships with my friends and significant other are rewarding, if often time-consuming. Of course I rarely mind the consumption of time, as time with friends usually tends more toward time well-spent than time drained. And yet lately…martial arts every so often. Work. Nighttime chats with girlfriend. Work. Hanging out with friends. Work. Playing games. I’m not thinking enough about my situation.

A question I may want to ask myself again sometime is why my most productive writing periods are, almost without fail, during times when I should be doing something else. Maybe something about the inherent conflict sparks my inner writer.

How do I keep forgetting the important pieces of life? What are those important pieces? My relationships. A meaning to life and work. Improving. But after these workdays, I just like to play games or hang out with friends. Am I falling deeper into the rabbit hole? And what if that’s where I need to be?

That’s what I wonder, Nancy.

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One thought on “the little rover who sat

  1. I had an interesting conversation about this article with my mom, actually! She suggested that the division of introverts vs extroverts can be further broken down into 4 subdivisions: introverts who are somewhat inhibited by their shyness, and introverts who can harness their “sitter” insights to be effective leaders, etc. in social/real world situations. Similarly, there are aggressive extroverts with a… stubborn “tunnel-vision” of sorts, and extroverts who can harness their energy to reach out to people.

    Bahhh, I hope that’s not too confusing. Basically her point was that introverts and extroverts should be split into 2 subdivisions respectively, one of which is arguably “healthier” than the other and better suited for social situations.

    Hahahaha anyways, definitely an interesting read. 🙂 Miss you, Rob!

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