Calendar And Control

The other night over Thai food Future Hub looked at me and said, "We're in countdown mode, aren't we?"

Soon he will just be the Hub (gasp!).

We proceeded to spend the rest of the dinner verbally checking things off, sorting out our schedule, trying to figure out when we'd have time to complete the laundry list. We aren't discussing our lives anymore, but one event. It's a little like the weeks before we exchanged (closed) on our flat last year. Every night after work we went through the checklist of what needed to get done. In some ways living like this is unbearable – in other ways it's good, as I feel like we're in it together.

And there's the whole 'controlling the calendar element' to these days, which makes me feel calmer. As I add appointments into Google calendar I feel a sense of control – at least that there will be some sort of order to the weeks ahead. However, it struck me yesterday that this isn't much different from my regular life. Emails come in about planning things, emails go out. And then dates go in the diary. I move a yoga class from a Saturday to a Sunday. And thus my life is planned out, controlled, OK.

Some people are addicted to drugs, others food, others video games. I am addicted to planning. This addiction, like most, I assume, doesn't provide long-term happiness, but sustains me in some way as a quick fix. I get a buzz from seeing my future weeks so full and ordered.

I don't know. Part of me is alright with the planning – I am a social creature, I like to do things and go places, primarily with other people. And if you want to see anyone in London, believe me, you have to book ahead. I recently got an invitation for a 30th birthday party – in June.

But then again, what is it about empty space and the absence of a fixed plan that makes me feel so nervous?

This calendar obsession also dredges up memories of when I couldn't control my body at all due my neck and arm pain. When I was doing well and getting better I would schedule in exercise classes on my Outlook calendar, recurring appointments – a fantasy schedule, if you will. Maybe I thought if I used enough willpower and hope, I would make it to all those classes or pool swimming sessions.

But life isn't like that.

I'm contemplating trying to go back to a short daily meditation (10 minutes tops) as the weeks roll forward closer to the big day. I was planning (again, here we go) to try to go to yoga two times per week as a way to de-stress, but I'm not sure my body likes that idea.

In the spirit of my post on listening to myself, from earlier this week, I have asked my body what it thinks. Right now it's very cool with the rhythm we've got going of yoga, tap, Zumba – three distinct classes a week. It's quite happy, can handle it and isn't going to rebel. But I feel like it's whispering, "Go ahead, just try it lady, see what happens if you push me."

So I'm keeping it as a free option. I've blocked out Thursday nights in the old Google calendar in case I feel like going. For someone as controlling as me, that's a big step. Clearly.

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  1. I am interested in this "planning addiction" concept. Recently I had a thought that my compulsive planning was like a sickness, a new thought for me, and probably over-dramatic, but it made me want to change that aspect of myself. I know what you mean, when it's good it makes me feel like I'm in control and I know what's happening, a good thing. But often I make elaborate plans (lists broken into lists, notebooks which reference other notebooks, etc.) which I follow for a day or two and then let drift. It's as if The Plan itself is the activity, which is okay, except that it's important for me to produce objects creatively (my job), and the plans end up taking away a lot of the pleasure I used to experience when my life was less structured. I'm now trying to NOT PLAN my creative life AT ALL. My sister doesn't plan anything, and actually experiences anxiety in the other direction - she feels hemmed in and gets defensive if you push her to plan. I guess it's about the anxiety more than the planning/not planning - so meditation is a good idea. Still, be sure to post if you have any planning-addiction breakthroughs.

  2. Very interesting. I think this whole planning thing merits more examination. There's a Dwight D. Eisenhower quote that I've always liked: "I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensible." Maybe planning is fine -- as long as we can let go of the plans.


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