A Type B Personality Living in a Type A World

Greetings!  Thanks for giving my blog a try!  I can’t guarantee that I will stick to any particular theme.  I generally get flashes of inspiration about this or that and can’t relax until I write them down.  So I guess you never know what you’re going to get from me.   I may post entries twice in one week and then you won’t hear from me again for two weeks.  I can try to promise X number of blog entries a month, but the problem is that I am a Type B personality.

What the hell am I talking about, you ask?  Ok, let’s start with some simple definitions.

Characteristics of Type A Personalities:  severe sense of time urgency, overachievers, competitive, and (most telling of all) “their biggest problem is stress, they are usually overwhelmed by the amount of tasks they have to do. These tasks are usually a huge list that they planned for themselves.”  I did NOT make that last one up – notice that it is in quotes!

Characteristics of Type B Personalities: quite simply – the opposite of Type A, with a tendency toward procrastination.  It is important to note that the Type B can also be an achiever, but the lack of time urgency leads to a lower stress level. This results in the tendency for this personality to fly below the proverbial radar.

Even as a child, I was never exactly a ball of fire.  My mother bragged that she could “take me anywhere” pretty much from the time I was born.  Yeah. BECAUSE I NEVER DID ANYTHING – never made a move or a peep.  I used to blame my inertia on my mother because she wouldn’t let me take dance lessons.  Let’s face it – in all fairness to Mom, I was never going to be Billy Elliot or that kid from Chorus Line who stole his sister’s dance shoes and snuck into the dance studio.  In high school, I was really never challenged because I chose a major that was easy, so I could get high grades with minimal effort.  And that was ok with me.  When I found something to do that I loved, I could do it for hours – as long as it was effortless.  Singing was effortless for me.  Raw talent, no formal training, no worries. Later in life, my Type B approach landed me in a career rut.  I’ve had to accept that, while I’m good enough at what I do, I’m never going to set the world on fire because I don’t want to be that person who is the first one in and the last one to leave.  I used to work in a place where my associates would compare notes on a regular basis to see who had stayed the latest or worked on the weekend, and I’d just sit there and think “what is WRONG with you people?”  I used to think that maybe I was just more efficient than they were, but the truth is that I just had no desire to play that game.  Maybe we all did the same amount of work, maybe not, but perception is reality, and so there you have it.  And I’ve decided that I’m ok with that.

With the advent of social media, I’ve come to believe that I’m just a walking cliché – swimming upstream, bucking the trend, going down the up elevator, etc, etc…  Many times I feel like I’m frozen while everyone else is revolving around me at a dizzying speed.  Facebook is the best place to spot those pesky Type A’s.   They’re the ones who like to post all of the chores they’ve completed that day in their status update.  Then they announce that it’s time for them to put their feet up.  Right.  If these folks are putting their feet up, more likely than not, they’re composing their task list for the following day while they are doing it.  I, on the other hand, have no problem putting my feet up and doing absolutely nothing while I’m doing it…..maybe even before  my “chores” are done.  Yes, I am one of those rare people you see on airplanes who really can sit and stare out the window for most of the flight.  To be clear, I’m not saying that I don’t do things that need to get done.  I just don’t try to do five other things at the same time.   Most of the time.   And I’m ok with that.

The Christmas holidays are the best.  Starting on Black Friday and mercifully ending on New Year’s Day, the dizzying whirlwind of baking, decorating, crafting and wrapping gives me the sensation of walking backwards into the looking glass. I survive by attempting, not always successfully, to keep my mouth shut and my head down.  My house will never be entertainment central, and I am really ok with that.   I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving.  Want to know why?  I make one or two dishes – usually green bean casserole and something else a bit more interesting – and the rest of the holiday is actually fun. All fun, no pressure.  There’s a reason why they made National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you know.

Type As are notorious for their lists.  Mental lists, written lists – they always have something going on. I’ve come to discover that leisure activities aren’t spared either.  Lists of TV shows, movies and books that they’ve just GOT to see or read. For me, once a leisure activity appears on a to-do list, it takes a giant leap from fun to CHORE and I can’t get away from it fast enough!  Really, what’s the point?  Supposedly people can transform themselves from A to B or B to A.  You can try to sell that to me, but I’m not buying it.   I just don’t think this kind of major change is possible.  Type B’s just aren’t concerned enough about chores and tasks to make this kind of leap.  And if you’re a Type A, why would you want to be anything else?  You have the best looking houses and gardens, the most successful careers and I’ll bet you’ve never embarrassed your kids by missing an important school deadline.   I’ve pondered trying to emulate the Type A’s.  After all, what’s the point of carving out time to stop and smell the roses if you don’t have anyone to smell them with?  But it’s no good.  I am who I am.  No illusions.  And I’m ok with that.

Type B’s really do have to be ok with their lot in life in order to survive. There’s no point in fighting it.  Our Type A friends have trouble recognizing us as Type B’s.  They think that everyone is like them. It’s not their fault. They’re simply too busy to stop and think about it. Look at it like this: We are the ones who are always available to help Type A’s with one of their projects of the moment.  We are capable of putting 100% effort into our own projects as long as we aren’t trying to spread ourselves too thin.  We are the ones who will always be there when our Type A friends finally decide that it’s time for some R and R.  

So there you have it.  To all of my Type A friends, I promise not to make fun of your Facebook posts where you declare yourselves to be “done in” because you cleaned your entire house from top to bottom in one day, if you promise not to judge when my house is sans decorations on December 20th.  In the end, whether we are Type A or Type B, if we are happy at the end of each day with what we’ve accomplished and we’ve managed to put a smile on someone else’s face, then we will probably agree that it’s been a pretty good day.   Vive la difference.   I did read something about the emergence of a Type C personality.  I’m pretty sure we want nothing to do with them ….

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