We walked St Hilda’s way, extending the route to start and end at Whitby, beginning with a walk along the coast to Runswick Bay. Planning for the twice delayed trip began pre-pandemic; after a long wait, we were blessed by perfect walking weather.
One oversight in our planning: we didn’t think to check that all St Hilda’s churches visited on the route would be open. Things have changed in lockdown. We became skilled at identifying Hilda in stained glass windows, viewed in reverse, from light to dark. They were impressive but doubtless less so than back-lit as intended.
This wasn’t a solitary pilgrimage, but there were opportunities to walk alone, to take time out, recharge my batteries. Many years ago, Myers-Briggs scored me, by the smallest of margins, as an extrovert. It never felt quite right, I don’t always become more energised in company; I can feel drained after too much time with others. Especially those who really do take their energy from those around them.
I prefer the label, ambivert, I first came across it in Susan Cain’s book Quiet. She quotes Jung: “There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.” Such a woman too, I echo. I don’t like the language, it’s outdated, but the fact remains that achieving the right balance seems to be the key to wellbeing.
Inspired by those I’ve met this week, not least a passing conversation with a supermarket cashier, I began to review how I’m currently using (or neglecting) my own strengths. I was reminded that the M-B profiling that suggested I was energised by extroversion also identified my lifestyle preference as, almost off the scale, ‘J’: planned, organised, decisive. All positive strengths, when used in the right measure.
Alone, or in a group, I can be full of energy. So long as there’s a plan.