Roots, Wings, and Bickerings

Friday, August 19, 2016 4 Comments A+ a-

Hey, guys! Guess what? It's story hour in the Cafe.


Once upon a time, way way back in the early 70s, there lived a little farm girl who loved denim. Her grandparents, aware of this love, bought her a groovy denim jacket with an embroidered rooster on the back. Even groovier, they had her name stitched above one of the pockets. The little girl wore this jacket everywhere. It became her favorite thing, until one day, she found that she'd outgrown it. She sadly put it away and mourned its loss.

Years later, after she'd grown into a woman and put girlish things behind her, she was cleaning out her garage and found the jacket. Her mother had kept it for her, you see, because it was such a precious reminder of girlhood. The woman smiled, remembering both her love for the jacket and the pain of outgrowing it. With bittersweet tears, she folded the jacket and, once again, put it away.

The end.

This is a true story. It happened to me last weekend, as hubby and I were making a valiant attempt to organize our garage. I came across a dusty old box and found this inside:

Lol, definitely a jacket from the 70s, right? But it was cool beans back then, and as a little girl, I had a hard time letting it go. I've always had a hard time outgrowing things. You'd think it would get easier over the years, but it hasn't. And I'm unable to stop doing it, mostly because of the restlessness and lack of contentment that comes along with being an INFJ.

Sound familiar?

Maybe it's just me. But I struggle with staying comfortable for very long. Deep inside, there's this odd, gypsy-like tendency to expand and grow. It's been there all my life, and honestly, it's kind of annoying. It drives me forward, pushing me into one thing and then the next, over and over again. Just as soon as I start settling into a situation--job, relationship, neighborhood, belief system--and putting down roots, that gypsy pops up and says it's time to go.

Most of the time, I ignore her. But she never really goes away, and every now and then, she'll rise up and whisper in my ear, teasing me with crazy notions like...freedom. Adventure. Exploration. New horizons, each with a golden sunrise that promises beautiful and glorious things.

The tension can get a little frustrating.

I used to think the gypsy side of me was a personal problem. Or even a destiny problem--a weird twist of fate that accidentally dumped me into the 21st century instead of the romantic era of wanderlust in which I truly belonged. But the more I discover about our INFJ personality type, the more I think this is just a fundamental part of who I am.

Maybe it's a part of who you are as well. Here are a few reasons why I think an INFJ might feel more like a gypsy than a homesteader:

#1 We're easily bored. This is one side-effect of having an overactive brain that won't shut off. We live inside our heads, and it's pretty darn cool in there. Coming back to reality is kind of a downer. There's a good chance our restlessness is simply driving us to make our reality a better match to our imaginations.

#2 We enjoy personal growth. Admit it. We're perfectionists, and we see room for improvement in everything--including ourselves. One of my favorite lines in the sequel I'm writing is, "The temptation to do more, to be more, was overwhelming." The first time I typed those words, I felt their truth in my heart. We want to be more. We just do.

#3 We see systems. Not dead people. Systems. A system can be anything from a relationship or hobby to a job or religion. Even a society. We're experts at picking up patterns and connecting the dots. Once we're involved in something, we easily get a handle on its structure. Strengths. Weaknesses. Benefits. That leads me to...

#4 We outgrow systems. We know when to stay and when to move on. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, guys. Growing up, I had people tell me I was flighty, fickle, and indecisive. They saw me jumping from one thing to the next (and the next, and the next) and didn't know what to make of it. But when I look back, I can see that I was simply outgrowing systems. I'd jump into something, quickly get the lay of the land, glean all the benefits I could from it, and then move on to the next level. Of course, some systems I couldn't get out of and had to endure all the way through (like high school, lol). However, it feels like all that outgrowing--while appearing nonsensical to others--was just a unique way of expanding my consciousness. A way to break free from limitations.

A way to be more.

I'm still longing to be more, and it's probably never going to stop. So I put down roots (when I can) and try to fly (when I can). That little girl in her rooster jacket learned to do both, and she's still somewhere inside me, telling me it's all right to grow and outgrow and just be happy.

Wow. I've written a lot here. Maybe some of it will resonate. Maybe you, too, struggle with roots and wings and bickerings, and maybe there's a restless gypsy in your heart that wants to outgrow the whole world. But you know what? That's okay. Because maybe it's all a mysterious and undeniable part of becoming the best INFJ you can be. :)

Take care, guys, and blessings to all of you,

Image Credit: Rooster Jacket (me), Roots Wings Bickerings, Sky's the Limit


Write comments
Christy Haupt
August 21, 2016 at 2:27 PM delete

YES! On all points. That's why teaching has such a draw for me as a career because each student is different and new lessons can be created whenever I feel stale to meet my high energy brain needs. Never boring. Summer break comes right in the knick of time and the new year brings new personalities. At home, I create lots of small afghans because I see a new pattern I want to try and off I go on another. Lots of baby blankets to give away and, my latest obsession, hats to crochet in màndala patterns!!! Woot! I have discovered google searching for INFJ authors in my reading material because they are able to build the complex plots and characters that keep me interested. Love your FB feed in my stream too btw :D

August 22, 2016 at 10:39 AM delete

Lol, sounds like you're super busy and loving it! So glad you have a job that supports your need to learn and change. And thanks...the FB page was a "new level" for me and I love it! :)

August 22, 2016 at 10:43 AM delete

Ohmigosh, thank you for articulating this! I always say that I want a brand new life (job and home) every four or five years. This makes sense... I'm part gypsy at heart.

August 22, 2016 at 11:17 AM delete

Haha, same's like I hit a certain point and go "Okay, my work here is done. What's next?"