Originally Posted by smithcommajohn
I'm 46, and what I mean by feel the same is that I'm still the same person inside. I have tendencies toward introversion and apathy that really turn people off. I moderate these tendencies the best I can when I'm around others to make interactions less awkward, but the real me is always there underneath the mask.
I don't mean to make it sound like I've never changed over the years in my feelings, it's just that my base tendencies haven't. I fell in love with a beautiful girl and married her. I never thought I could love someone like that before and it changed me in ways that are hard to describe. I wanted to be a better man. I actually CARED about becoming a better man. She made me give a shit. When we divorced 4 years later, yeah, things changed again. That's what life is all about, though, change. The world changes us and we change the world, even if only slightly.
About feeling "weird, disconnected, distant,anxious, depressed", those feelings have come and gone many times throughout my entire life. I don't know that it is because of my type, though. I still feel like the odd one out most of the time. Usually it doesn't bother me at all, but other times it is all I can bear... but that's life.
I identify with a lot of that. I will be 48 in a few months, and my life has really run a gamut at times, but I'm still the same sort of "me" I see now after all of the being socialized.
Getting married and raising kids did force me into new pathways, although it was more about learning "how to do it" -- how to interact in ways that I didn't quite have a natural grasp of -- and sure those things expanded me, but they seem to only work best when I have a lot of energy and there's no kind of erosion/disruption in my life. Kind of like "big game" day when you're rested up and prepared and practiced.
Now with my kids grown and being divorced and pretty much just working during the day and then spending much of my free time alone (because my closest friends aren't local, and I'm not great at casual meetings), I feel like I've gone back to "normal gear" behavior... puttering about, watching movies, thinking a lot, hiking on my own, doing projects when I can focus the energy and ideas to do so.
It's just that I'm different now in that I can operate in the world when I need to and seem "normal" to everyone else. Maybe I'm too hard on myself, but I always feel like the one in groups of women who doesn't know what to say (we had a baby shower last week -- wheee... that was thrilling, case in point), so I just smile and laugh and occasionally toss something out, and it can feel nice to be included... but I don't really feel like I'm part of the group. I'm still this individual isolated person who is accepted into the group but doesn't necessarily belong. I tend to do best when I'm interacting with others with a goal in mind -- an ideas discussion, a project, a game session, etc. Then I seem to be more "me" if that makes sense, and I just respond to things intuitively.
Kind of random. I guess I'm saying, yes, at my age, I can actually "clean up" okay and interact with others -- I have some social skills now, and confidence in how I engage, from the outside I LOOK more "normal" in how I present myself and what I can do -- but my core impulses haven't really changed a ton. But I also feel like a lot of edge has been taken off by life as well, so I don't get quite as intense about certain things I used to do a lot in my teens and early 20's.