I meant to be light and fun
I've been trying to distract myself tonight. I've got far too many serious things on my mind, and spending a few minutes on something light makes all the rest easier to handle. In surfing the more mindless aspects of the web, I saw a personality profile on Facebook and took it. It showed raw percentiles of how I compare to other people. Apparently, I'm way more open than most, considerably more agreeable and definitely more neurotic. It also showed that I'm far, far less conscientious than most people who have taken the profile. That one got to me, bad. It then showed my corresponding Briggs-Meyers type. The I(ntroversion), (I)N(tuition) and F(eeling) were in their usual places, but for once, my somewhat cruel and demanding J(udging) came up a P(erceiving).
Was it the shot of whiskey in my hot tea tonight or the near the top of the charts stress from a truly terrible day? I am beginning to unwind, and that does bring out my more spontaneous side. I've also had a hard time battling the past today, reliving old failures and nightmares, and finding poise and wisdom to handle a current challenge. I've worked hard not to let the regrets mount up, but frankly, I've been losing that battle. After several months of frustrating unemployment when other losses have also loomed large, I've also been doubting my effectiveness in just about everything.
It's just too damn much introspection for a Friday night, but it has brought up some interesting questions that really are only marginally related to my high neurosis level. Does your personality really change as you grow and age? Why do people, especially me, like to see something so complex as a person's nature reduced to a simple label? Do the events of our life shape us or just refine and polish what we bring to the table. Perhaps most important, do I have enough whiskey left for another shot in my next cup of tea?
I look back at myself when I was younger. I didn't have to try to be organized. It just flowed naturally. Work came first, priorities were easy to sort out, and I was too uptight to enjoy much of my youth. Things are definitely more challenging now. Choosing between job hunting, finding affordable transportation, deciding if and when and where I want to move, trying to help the daughter in her transition to college life, resolving the financial matters of widowhood, making and implementing a new financial plan for the rest of my freaking life in the worst economic crisis seen in generations and the rest of the normal daily challenges make the big picture much murkier. Picking the right priorities is much harder than sorting out the time management required to work and go to graduate school. I look at the 7 Habits model (Urgent, Not Urgent, Important, Not Important), and it seems that everything comes up in the Urgent, Important box. I have decisions and actions that have to be made today about so many things, and the result is that I haven't been getting everything done. That's been weighing heavily on me, and I don't feel very conscientious. Is this, though, a blip on the radar of an otherwise conscientious life or a change in the making?
I've needed to let go of some of the judgment of my failed perfectionism, yet, I miss being able to see a good, natural and effective structure in things. I don't like forgetting things and getting them done late. That J of mine is still rearing its head, but I'm seeing how that P is in action. I've also noticed that after R. died, I've seemed to pick up some of his qualities (including some that really annoyed me when he was alive), including a greater tolerance for messiness (it is my mess, after all) and a greater disregard of clock time. Is this a way of keeping him with me? Did I need those qualities in my life but let him have the responsibility of carrying them only to nag him about them? It's not an easy question. It makes me wince.
I know I have changed over time though. Despite a somewhat grim attitude lately, I know that I'm much more optimistic than I was when I was younger. This isn't a refinement of personality. It's a sea change. I don't see the world as a happy, shiny place, but I do have the feeling that things just ultimately work out okay. God/dess only knows how. I just get frustrated with how long it takes for things to settle, instead of feeling that everything is hopeless. I also wonder how much of this has to do with finally staying on anti-depressants on a pretty consistent basis.
It would be nice if everything were simpler, and I think that's why I look to personality profiles. They tie up all the loose ends so neatly and tuck things into a nice, neat box. I can't leave a neat box alone though. I have to pick through the contents, effectively chunking the tidy results of a profile into a morass of questions. I'm left with the affirmations of what I want to believe about myself, and I can dismiss what I don't like because it's just a form test. (Oh, I'm really a far more conscientious person than that, really.) Tonight's results though I don't want to dismiss. If I'm being too hard on myself, I want to ease up. If I have become too much of a slacker, it's time to get more on the ball. For now, though, I'm going to pour that next cup of tea and add a liquor store run to my to do list. This is my absolute last shot of any liquor in the house. Maybe that P tonight is just telling me to make relaxation more of a priority. I don't know, but it sounds good for now.