Preparations. Do you like to prepare waaaay in advance, and be prepared for every scenario? Or do you just do things on the fly by the seat of your pants?
A story that gets retold often, from my youth, that explains so much about who I am as an adult:
My mom reports that I always had to be given about a dozen warnings that something was going to change, particularly if we were going to leave the place we were in. She would say, “Katie, in 20 minutes we are going to go to the store.”
“Katie, in 15 minutes we are going to stop what we are doing, put on our shoes, and leave.”
“Katie, in 10 minutes we are going to leave.”
“Katie, in 5 minutes we are going to stop what we are doing and get our shoes.”
I like starting every week knowing EXACTLY what is going to happen that week. What days am I working out and do I need to go to work early to accommodate that? What days am I making dinner? Do I have any ‘co-curriculars’ this week? What exact time do I need to be in each place? How exactly am I going to get there (I take a lot of public transit, so figuring this out isn’t always so simple)? Which exact days do I have “free time” and exactly how much time is that?
A conversation that make me cringe:
“What time do we have to meet so-and-so for dinner?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe around 6ish.”
“Where are you going to get groceries?”
“I don’t know.”
I don’t know why I care when Aaron hasn’t chosen a grocery store, but I don’t like the uneasiness of not knowing.
I do know exactly what motivates this behavior, at least as an adult.
First, I have long prided myself as being a fierce and independent woman. The thought of being in a position that might be perceived as a damsel in distress does actually distress me. I don’t want to rely on others for help, especially for things I could have prevented or prepared for with just a bit of effort. I don’t want to be caught unaware or unprepared in a situation I cannot get my own self out of. Ever. It’s why I still carry a paper map and jumper cables in the car (even though I can hardly use either!). It’s why I almost always make sure to at least have some cash and enough change for bus fare.
Second, is the low-level but pervasive feeling that it could all crumble. I don’t entirely know what “it” is, but that idea that at any minute things could go so dramatically wrong that life completely changes. I know that, lots of times, those kind of events cannot be prevented, but I feel compelled to at least try. This anxiety has probably worsened since I got sick in the spring, and now I wish to go to the ER for every bump, bruise, or odd ache. It’s not normal, and I am learning to cope with it.
Somewhat ironically, I am generally not an overplanner on vacations, where most people tend to spend a lot of energy planning and maximizing their time. There is no itinerary for daily activities– not a lot of pre-scoping restaurants or things to do at our destination. I often just show up and see what happens. I don’t know why I can so easily turn the overplanning off as soon as I get out of town. Perhaps I need a vacation from that, as well?