The description (written, I presume, by either Adriel or Rami) begins: “As a naturally outgoing introverted person-,”
Wait. Outgoing AND introverted? It sounds like a contradiction. But is it?
“I long to fill up my happiness by being near friends,” the author continues. “But I often quickly hit a wall after a small amount of time. It’s hard to find the balance between making myself happy without draining all of my extra energy. This is always exasperated by the holiday season, as I tend to spend a lot of time around those I love over the New Year’s holiday.”
Ah. Upon reflection of my own holiday break, in which I totally lacked the energy to negotiate one particularly difficult attempted visit, squeezed in some dear friends on the 23rd and 24th, and then proceeded to spend Christmas Day onwards reading books and doing cross stitch while other people played games around me… yes, I think I see it.
I have called myself an extrovert for as long as I can remember. I’m on the television, for goodness’ sake. And yet, a glance back at my early school reports reveals a shy girl who was reluctant to participate in class. I dread to intentionally link my younger self with the person I am now, but I think I only am the person I am now because of years of self-discipline. I have spent so long forcing myself to leave the house and speak to strangers that I can no longer tell whether this behaviour is natural or not.
And it’s difficult for me to figure out whether I too am an outgoing introvert, socially motivated but quickly sapped of social energy, or just a person whose job requires me to be intensely “on” for a continuous period of time – a live radio appearance, a public event, a day of filming – and leaves me buzzing but utterly wiped the moment the camera or microphone is off.
Adriel’s game is a neat illustration of the kinds of negotiations we all make with our own energy levels, though I’m not sure it accurately represents my own experiences, in which I seem to spend vast quantities of energy at once and then feel a strong urge to spend the next day doing as little as possible. Adriel’s representation feels gentler.
You see a small pulsing circle in the middle of a circular field. Hold down the mouse button or space bar, and the circle grows, changing in colour from green (well, turquoise) to red. In the grand tradition of “green = good; red = bad”, we can assume that the circle is happier when it is green and shrinking than when it is growing and red; indeed, allow that red to grow too bright and you will lose your control over the circle altogether: a shudder, a dull chime, and the circle shrinks back.
Of course, I was determined to push the circle as far as I could – whether because I’m trained to try to win the game, or because of some more fundamental aspect of my personality – but I did have to take many breaks, which I suppose is the moral of the story. Although what does it mean to have a win condition at all? Are we supposed to encourage people to find whatever way they can to push themselves to their absolute limits? Or have I read it wrong? Maybe when you do manage to extend your circle all the way, and the window closes with a pleasant chime, it’s supposed to represent a different kind of ending.