To Be, or Not To Be…

8 Jul

I am a high-strung over-achieving obsessive workaholic perfectionist Type A personality prone to anxiety. And on top of that I’m a Virgo, even. “How high-strung am I?” you ask (or perhaps you had no intention of asking that, and I am merely projecting). Well, I’ll tell you regardless: I am so high-strung that two years ago, my New Year’s Resolution was to take up more vices, i.e. drink and smoke more. I lasted for about a week of this, and then I had to revert to my old, non-substance abusing, healthy (I use this word subjectively) lifestyle because I was EXHAUSTED. And I felt like shit. And I think I may be slightly allergic to alcohol and very allergic to smoke or whatever crap they put in cigarettes, but this is neither here nor there. And honestly, I just have too much to do to waste an entire evening being unproductively drunk, or the following day being even less productively hungover. Who has the time for such indulgences???

I am the type of person who uses my yoga practice as an opportunity to refine my To Do List and meditate on my anxieties. I am the type of person who lies, not peacefully and/or blissfully in sivasana during those final moments of class, but rather, contemplates whether I can pick up my dry cleaning, buy fresh flowers for myself, get a bite to eat, and still manage to get home within 5 minutes so I can write down my newest idea before I forget it. Something like this may have happened today, for instance.

I am such a pro, I can even take something like relaxing, throw it on my infamous To Do List, and make it unfortunately anxiety-producing. These are some things that may or may not make an appearance on my To Do List:
-Declutter papers
-Delete emails (I was up to over 2300 in my inbox recently)
-Read self-help book
-Shred (I will most certainly get back to this, one of my most favoritest activities, in a future post)
-Evolve as a human being
-Go to CVS
-Transcend my limitations
-Return calls
-(Don’t forget to breathe!)

I am such an over-achieving perfectionist, that one time in college, I got an A- in a theatre course. Ok. I was pissed. I had gotten a (perfect) ‘A’ on every single assignment, test, and paper. I sat in the front row. Center. I raised my hand. A lot. I always knew the right answer. This minus attached to my grade was clearly a devastating mistake.

So. I did what any normal, healthy, well-adjusted over-achieving perfectionist Virgo would do: I (benevolently) stalked my professor. Which totally wasn’t (that far) out of line as he didn’t return my calls. I mean, what’s a girl to do when her class rank is in jeopardy? It would have clouded your judgment, too, don’t try to pretend that it wouldn’t have…So I just happened by the theatre building and waited for him to walk out. After I explained my plight, he sort of expressed this sentiment like what’s the big deal? Um, do I really even have to answer this question? The story ends with my grade being (rightly!) changed to an un-tarnished, and beautifully perfect ‘A’ (insert sigh-of-relief here).

I also called to confront another professor who was in charge of Phi Beta Kappa when I didn’t get in. But alas. Sometimes you have to choose your battles.

I always have to be THE BEST at everything I do. Even things that clearly, are non-competitive. Like online dating for example. I signed up a few months ago and literally got sick because I was up all night reading profiles and filtering all this new information. If I was going to online date, I had to be the best online-dater in the history of the whole-wide-entire-world!!!

I work this wonderful coach who is sooooo onto me, and she gave me this wonderful assignment: I have to alternate days of Doing, with days of Being. “What’s…that…what’s…BEING?” you ask, or perhaps I am just projecting again. When she told me this, I immediately started tapping my pen frantically on my notebook. When she pointed this out, I threw my pen down as to not let it give me away again, and this time, with no pen in hand, I started agitatedly running my hands through my hair. My coach also pointed this out. On my Being Days I have to (gasp!) do nothing that is “productive.” I have to kick back and relax. I have to maybe have a drink (but NOT a cigarette – so bad for you! The Anti-Smoking League or whatever should also sponsor me here, with all these shout-outs). Do I have to tell you how panicked the idea of not doing anything that can somehow, any how, be construed as productive makes me?

I have not quite hit the one day Doing, one day Being mark just yet. Right now my ratio looks something like this – 7 days of Doing: 2 hours of totally-reluctant-white-knuckled Being. Like when I lied out in the park yesterday and although I felt desperate to return to my apartment/email/To Do list after 45 minutes, I forced myself to stay there for another hour and fifteen minutes and relax (dammit!), because, really, what did I have waiting for me at home that couldn’t wait a little longer?

So, in this spirit, and in a little bit of my over-achieving perfectionistic spirit, I am going to up this ratio! I am going to take a full day, that’s right, ONE FULL DAY, to just BE. I am going to be the best Being that there ever ever was. In the whole-wide-entire-history-of-the-world!!! (I feel like there should be some demonic laughter or something inserted here). Tomorrow will be this day. And as proof of my sheer being I will not even write a post for my blog tomorrow. I will not even work on a sentence or a title or a concept or the teeniest tiniest flicker of an idea. I will, quite simply, Be. To the very best of my ability.

If you check back tomorrow, and notice that I have in fact posted something on my Be-ing day, then it will be confirmed, and you will know that I most certainly have a very serious problem. But until then, I will ponder what in some circles is known as the question: “To be or not to be…”


Jen G.

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