In five minutes I'm going upstairs for the last of three parties tonight. Yes, I know the people at these parties -- some of them, anyway -- better than I would have many years ago, when I was just starting to travel in these circles. But I wouldn't call very many of them friends. The party I'm about to attend is likely to be full of strangers. But I'm not disinclined to go. I feel confident that I can listen well and speak appropriately. I think I can strike a balance between talking about myself and being interested in those I talk to.
Somewhere along the line I crossed a barrier between introvert and extrovert. I miss that woman who used to seek out solitude and avoid unstructured social encounters ... not that much, but I do miss her. Now I'm a social butterfly. I stride fearlessly into the room, accept my drink, and even give out the cheek-kisses of a class to which I never aspired. I'd be a stranger to my younger self. And that stranger is off to mingle now. Ciao!