*Hi there! Super excited to have a guest post~ here on Ampersand. Just like how I love sharing cool new things with you, I love when people share awesome ideas/tips/events with me! Meet my friend Sam–pug enthusiast & fan of Ampersand. Y’all can follow her here on Instagram.
“My planner is glued to me at all times but I really feel like it ties me down sometimes,” I said.
“So burn it.”
My therapist, who I’ve only been seeing for a few short months, learned quickly that I’m a planner. Her solution, to her, seemed quick and easy. To me, it was terrifying.
I started laughing when those words came out of her mouth. Then I said… “Wait, like … I might do that.”
Before, my planner used to be physical representation of the pressure I put on myself.
I skipped yoga because I forgot to submit my journalism assignment. I can’t check it off the list in my planner, so it’ll just stare at me and remind me that I failed a little today.
I actually started to write in pencil so that I could erase stuff that I never got to in the day. But that didn’t matter… I still knew.
I’m approaching 25 next month, in the midst of getting my Master’s and have a job I am really thriving in. I’m living where I want to. I’m dating. I’m doing something fun every weekend. Life is good. But I’m always looking for the next thing. Not only am I looking for it, but I’m trying to plan for it.
I’m that girl with the color-coded closet, ordered by type of clothing and changed out every season. If my bed isn’t made before I leave the house it’s clear I’m either not feeling well or am not in a good mood. A messy room pretty much only means I’m hungover.
Being organized, type-A, overachieving, insert-your-defining-term-about-me-here has been embedded in my brain since I was a kid. I remember it from being in elementary school. Kind of a lot for your average third grader to stress about, amiright? And this pressure came from no one other than myself.
On top of being neurotic AF, I have an anxiety disorder and depression.
I was diagnosed at 22, after graduating from college and feeling like (admittedly, super dramatic) my life was just totally out of control. I was unhappy at work, failing miserably at my love life, living in my tiny childhood bedroom and just legitimately freaking out. That’s just when I put a name on something I had been dealing with internally for 22 years.
Now, I’m thriving. I’ve finally felt like I’ve got it together. But I still put this insane pressure on me about the future and I’m DYING to know what it’s going to look like.
Looking back to the way that I was as a kid, terrified of failing (and also terrified of anything at all outside of my control), it’s clear that I’ve been dealing with these things for probably my whole life.
Anxiety makes me feel like I’m spiraling. That’s the way I normally explain it. I like to think I’m a very rational person, but anxiety is anything but. And then, the depression hits.
For me, and a lot of other type-A folks, this “high-functioning depression” is a result of the pressures we place on ourselves, our own expectations, and failing to live up to them because they’re simply unreasonable or even impossible. I recognize that I’m being unreasonable, but sometimes I take it too far, can’t go back, and lose a little bit of the control (that I desperately want). Then I beat myself up about it. Depression.
The idea of simply throwing out this book of paper full of lists that are highlighted and checked off seemed so crazy to me at first. Then it felt FREEING. I don’t need a damn planner!
I don’t need a physical representation of the fact that sometimes, things don’t go the way we’ve planned. Shit happens. All the time. Life happens and gets in the way constantly. We can only plan so much. So the important dates went into my iPhone calendar. Work events went in my Outlook calendar, and my planner went in the trash as soon as I got back to my desk.
My mom let out an audible gasp when I told her. Type A friend (@Kasia) told me her heart was racing as I explained my therapist’s “crazy” idea.
It’s been about a month and my guilt has dwindled. Living without a planner has helped me be more grounded and soak up the moments I have before me. I’m so thankful for that, and I’m already seeing the things I really, truly want reveal themselves to me–and not because I wrote them on a to do list.
This might seem like something simple, but I know plenty of people can relate. Millennials~ I’m lookin at you.
We’re all out here trying to kill it in the real world. Some of us are struggling to find a job we love, or a job at all, others are making decisions about moving across the country. The beauty is, WE DON’T HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT. We always end up where we’re supposed to anyways. We have time.
Plus, life is so much more fun without a plan.&.
*Kasia again! Want to guest post on Ampersand? Shoot me an email– firstname.lastname@example.org.