Blessing or Curse?

They say that Js spend as much time preparing for a task as they do on the task itself. I spend more. This summer, I realized that for every week that I went on vacation, or entertained relatives, I spent about two weeks preparing for it. And when I say preparing, I mostly mean worrying. I tried to anticipate every need my family would have on vacation, and every need my guests would have when they came.

It’s hard work being a planner, because you’re focused on what can go wrong, and trying to avoid it. It can cast a cloud over those days before the big events in your life. I wish I could only plan so much and then let it go, but it’s hard to know when I’ve planned enough. I keep remembering something I hadn’t thought of, and of course, I have memories of all of those other events where no matter how hard I planned, something went wrong anyway. 

I look at my ESFP friend, who always seems carefree and cheerful, and deals with everything as it comes up, and not a minute sooner, and sometimes I wish I could be more like her. She just came over the other day with a big box of invitations to her daughter’s wedding. She had asked friends and relatives to help her send them out, and we were making a party out of it. I thought, what a nice way to do a boring, difficult job -  to bring all of these people together and turn it into something fun. And with her smiling, happy personality, everyone looks forward to an evening with her. 
After a few minutes, however, it became clear that she had not spent much time in preparation for this. We had a total of 14 separate tasks that needed to be done for each invitation, (no, really, it’s true) and she had not thought ahead as to how she would organize people and materials. It became a case of, “Do it first, think about how to do it right, then do it over again.” And with six people all talking and trying to be helpful, I often had to go to a “Zen place” in my head to keep my outer calm.

What should have taken one evening, ended up taking a whole week to finish, with everyone doing separate jobs at home and my friend driving all around the city trying to bring it all together. In the end, people were annoyed at her for the extra work she caused, and her daughter wasn’t speaking to her because so many of the invitations didn’t go out right.   

I was thinking about what I had learned from all that, and I realized that I’m stupid to envy people who don’t do much worrying beforehand. Life will take its tax from us when we try to increase our income of happiness, whether we pay by quietly worrying beforehand or, like my friend, running around trying to repair damage afterwards. In the end, we all have to pay.

What I really wish is that I could have my friend’s always cheerful personality, but keep my ability to plan and organize. Then I would be perfect. That’s probably never going to happen, but what has happened is that I have a new attitude about my tendency to worry. I now think of it as part of my charm.


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  1. Sonya

    #1 by Sonya - October 3, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    Well, thank you for this. As an ISFJ, worrying is almost my middle name! Sometimes it does take it's toll on me, but it is comforting to know that other people do the same.
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