I need you to know that I am a really fun person. It’s important to remember that as you’re reading the next few paragraphs. I am a fun person who likes fun things, like amusement parks and bubbles and turning pictures of Vladimir Putin into unicorns. I get invited to parties. Hell, I’ve even thrown a party. Once. I AM A FUN LADY AND PEOPLE LIKE ME.
But I am also a teeny, tiny bit anal.
[Editorial Note: In the first draft, that sentence was “I have a little bit of an anal problem,” which would have made this a very different blog post.]
I know what you’re thinking. You never saw it coming. A copy editor who categorizes things into lists in her spare time seems like such an easygoing, loosey-goosey gal! Well you’re wrong. In the words of “Harry Potter”
heroine villain Dolores Umbridge, I will have order.
I’ve always been aware of some charming control freak tendencies, but every so often a moment of terrifying clarity sneaks up on me. I had one such moment today, when I saw this:
“What is that?” you ask. “Is it the work of a child imagining what boring adulthood is like? Is it some kind of postmodern art piece lampooning the banality of the every day? Is it a prop from a commercial for ulcer medication?” It is none of those things.
No, that color-coded beauty is my Google Calendar. Once again, it’s important to keep in mind that I enjoy balloon animals and own more than one Muppet T-shirt because I am a fun person.
I’m not totally sure what happened to make me this way, but I suspect it was a combination of things.
Why I Am Like This
1) According to birth order theory, it’s because I’m the bossy oldest child, given to taking responsibility a little overboard and knowing everything about everything.
2) A proclivity towards anxiety means that I hate, hate, hate surprises. I hate them. Planning ahead and knowing exactly what is going to happen is a beautiful thing.
3) Nothing is more satisfying than checking items off a to-do list. Finally being able to pee after getting stuck in the car on a road trip is up there, too, but the to-do list thing is at least a close second.
4) Long ago, my left brain staged a coup over my right brain and is now running the show with an iron fist. An iron brain fist.
I know that calendar doesn’t seem fun (unlike me, because I seem very, very fun), but organizing things like that is my natural state. The only thing I worry about is that when I schedule my life out with very little wiggle-room, I’m putting myself in a rut. If there’s one thing that movies about manic pixie dream girls and ads about the joys of surprise dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets have taught me, it’s that ruts are bad places to be.
Look at that calendar. Look at the way I do the same housework and work on the same projects and play the same instruments and call the same boyfriend and write in the same journal every day. Ugh. Drudgery. Wearing a path from my front door, to my desk, to the nearest Taco Bell, to my grave is not how life should be. Where’s the adventure? Where’s the room for new experiences? When will I meet Natalie Portman? I have things to do! Places to see! People to avoid! I have to get out of this rut!
Only the thing is that I’m not sure it is a rut, after all. Believe it or not, I like my calendar. I think I’m kind of into drudgery.
So I’m Not as Fun as I Previously Claimed (and That’s OK)
1) I’ll have you know that I’m not a slave to that calendar. There are a lot of days when I get a notification on my phone that I’m late for one of those insane appointments and I ignore it and do something else. Often another chore. Because I am a wild child.
2) I actually find that crazy schedule motivational. If I didn’t set these things out in order, I’d find excuses not to do them. But when I get to check a task off a list at the end of the day, I will do it no matter what. I have a problem.
3) I want to do every single one of these things, even the boring ones. Remember that last existential meltdown I had? It’s been very helpful when it comes to getting things done. I’m going to die someday and setting up a rigorous plan of action like this one is the best way I know to make sure I get as much stuff done as possible before that happens.
4) I think getting stuck in a rut is supposed to make you feel bad. The drive I have to accomplish these things, paired with the nerdy joy of checking them off a list, is resulting in the opposite effect. I’m pretty happy with things these days. If it is a rut, it’s a nice one.
I imagine that a right-brained person would look at my calendar and start crying. It probably looks like my ridiculous schedule is running me, but I promise it’s the other way around.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my previously scheduled Spontaneity Hour.