I spend a lot of time making lists, whether they are in my head, written on a piece of paper, or on my phone and laptop. Lists about what needs to be done today, later this week, or even a few months down the road. Even when I check off all the items on my list, more things pop up. There are always things demanding my attention.
Initially, I thought having a list—or multiple lists—was a good thing. I felt organized and in charge of things. But when the lists started creeping their way into other facets of my life, it started to become a problem.
While holding a plank pose during my workout, my mind did a mental inventory of all the grocery items I needed to buy in order to make the 72 cupcakes I had to make this weekend. While being intimate with my husband (I know! I know!), my mind reminded me I still had not contacted the restaurant to make a reservation for my son’s first communion. While trying to write this article, I made a mental note of all the other articles I had still to edit for another magazine that were slowly piling up like a teetering pile of Jenga blocks.
I was feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and as a result, paralyzed from accomplishing anything.
And then my phone buzzed . . .
It was a friend asking if I wanted to go for a walk. Not later this week, not tomorrow, but right now.
My mind was already spinning with all the reasons I ought to say no and why I shouldn’t go on this walk. I had too much to do already, and I had done nothing yet.
My husband glanced over at the phone, saw the text, and nonchalantly replied, “You should go.” This was after I told him I was feeling overwhelmed because of all the things I needed to get done today.
I was baffled, intrigued, and annoyed all at the same time.
Going against my own will (and sanity), I did what my husband suggested. I texted back yes and got ready. Thoughts still spinning around in my head.
And then I realized, this is why every Type A personality like myself needs one (or a few!) Type B persons in their life. Because when a Type A starts spiraling mentally, it is the Type B person who provides the perfect antidote. A distraction. A break from all the stuff that weighs down a Type A. From the thoughts that constantly bombard them. From the endless to-do lists.
Although at the moment, that Type B person is someone who least likely understands what you are going through–which is probably true–this is exactly the reason why you need them. Because they would think and do exactly the opposite of a Type A and that is sometimes the best solution to help you in your current state.
So, I followed my Type B husband’s advice and went for a walk with my Type B friend.
For one hour, I didn’t ruminate on the things I had to get done. Even if I tried to, I couldn’t. I was too busy walking, talking, and trying not to spill my overpriced caramel macchiato from Starbucks while getting my steps in. It was a lot for my brain to handle, so it didn’t have time to deliberate on anything else.
When I got back from my walk, I felt better. I’d be lying though if I said my to-do list didn’t start to creep back into my mind–it did. But this time, it felt less overwhelming. It felt more manageable even though I hadn’t crossed anything off it. Just getting out of my own head, getting out into nature, and immersing myself in something completely different and unlike what I’d typically do helped tremendously.
So, to all the Type B people I know: although I am often times frustrated and perplexed by your approach to life, I realize (after the fact, of course) you bring a much-needed balance to my Type A personality.
And I thank you for that.