I used to really want to be an extrovert until I came to my senses and realized I didn't like small talk that much.
I grew up loud at home, but quiet at school. I realized that introverts were different from extroverts around the age of ten when everyone stopped playing tag and running around the playground. Suddenly the game changed. It was now a social game. Little cliques, gathered in corners around the courtyards. Mean laughter at the expense of others, arrogant teens and the new value of dressing fashionably. This is where I got lost. I never liked bullies, I did not value standing in circles to exchange unintelligent comments (typical of ten-year-olds) and I could not care less about fashion. Of course, this is a personal take on this radical shift from play to socializing. Like many, I had an intimate experience with bullying (as the receiver) and I did not get along with most groups of ten-year-old wannabes. While I started focusing more on pleasing others, I always felt resentment to have to hide and lie about myself to fit in. This is when I realized extroverts were different from me, and I became jealous of their social superpowers.
As an adult, I find myself valuing what I valued as a child: free-spirited play. I used to play dress-up all the time, dig tunnels in the garden, climb trees, play games etc. I am not saying I again want to dress up like a pirate and pretend to be going into battle with my imaginary frigate full of flibustiers (ok, maybe?), but adults have the knack to render everything routine and dull. Adults are expected to be cool and composed and stay away from play, which is assumed to be children’s territory. Sometimes they get drunk and get a bit more imaginative. But sober play is how we best learn and enjoy life! My definition of play is when we enjoy an activity and it has no expected outcome. We do it just for the sake of it. Painting a canvas in a serious manner is not play. Play is educational, imaginative, wild, unpredictable, but safe. If you are having fun while doing something interesting and no one is getting hurt, it's likely play. I try to incorporate play into as many aspects of my life as possible. It makes everything more enjoyable!
As an adult, I place a high value on deep connections but have slim patience for superficial ones. I still don’t care about fashion and dislike cliques where people lose their individuality to generally coalesce and emerge as something less than their individual selves. I spend much more time with select friends, mostly one on one. I get easily intimated by large groups, and I am very bad at interjecting my ideas and thoughts when there are no breaks in the conversation.
I did not choose it, but I am very content to be an introvert. I profoundly value human connections and personal conversations, but I need much time to recharge by being alone. Solitude is not loneliness, it is learning to appreciate yourself and your time. If you rely on socialization to feel good, you relegate to others that power. Learn to appreciate yourself and your appreciation of others and life, in general, will only grow.