It occurred to me this morning that I've more or less stopped socializing the last few years, the last year in particular. I rarely see friends, I spend my weekends buried in projects or house upkeep. When I do see friends I'm so burned out and exhausted that I'm not all that talkative. It's understandable given that I've worked a job that I've long since stopped finding interesting. Instead of providing me engagement and interest, it merely saps my energy. I try to get some of that back in my off time through Drupal projects, but that leaves me little conscious down time. One thing that's vital for my mental health is time to "process". It's like mental housekeeping. There's nothing to do, no tasks to complete, nothing to watch, just time to sit there thinking about thinking. If I don't do that enough, everything, no matter how enjoyable it's supposed to be, turns into another task to complete. Despite how important it is for me, it's difficult to do that unless I'm alone. I live in a house of four people, so I'm rarely ever alone. My introvert deflection tendencies kick in, resulting in night after night of watching movies and old TV shows. The state of things makes it rather difficult for me to really get to know anyone new. Even in the best of circumstances it takes significant mental gymnastics for me to get to know people. It never works for me in groups simply because I tend to go quiet. It's never because I don't like the people there, it's often because I've had enough bad experiences in my younger life that necessitated playing things close to my chest in a group setting. Those same unfortunate experiences also led me to cultivate an imposing air around me as a protection mechanism. It's completely involuntary, but it does often result in people thinking I don't like them when, in fact, I'm rather fond of them. I'm just really, really quiet about it. It's also not as simple as just meeting up with a person, getting a coffee an talking. This feels terrifyingly confrontational to me unless I already know the person. Usually, I have to trick myself by putting on an easy additional focus. A movie, a game, a project, something. It serves as both an ice breaker and an easy way to deflect awkward silences. If it sounds like a lot of effort just to get to know a person, you're right. It *is* a lot of effort, but it can be really rewarding. The problem is that for the last year I haven't had the wherewithal to even do that. Maybe with this new job my passions will be more aligned with my income and I'll be able to recoup some of that energy.