Settled or Open-Ended?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I like to plan. I live by my to-do lists and my organized calendars. I rarely clean my house, but I must have things in their rightful places. I like having decisions made, tasks completed, plans settled.

Everything in my life right now is unsettled and disordered. This does not make me very happy. If I write anything in my calendar, it has to be in pencil because it’s all open and up for grabs.

Years ago, I used to be the Queen of personality tests. You name, I took it. I’ve been labeled a Starring Individualist-High D-Sanguine-Designer-People Gatherer-Fieldmarshal. My favorite test was the Myers-Briggs, but I realize that dates me. I haven’t kept up (I don’t know anything about enneagram) since I stopped being part of a team.

One of the Myers-Briggs categories reveals how you prefer to live your outer life–how you orient yourself to life. I always tested near the middle of this category, with its “J” for judging (a terrible word choice) and “P” for perceiving. This category highlights the biggest cause of stress on overseas mission teams, which are made up of people who already have the stress of navigating life in another culture.

When the majority of my team overseas couldn’t decide which train to take or arrive at the station on time, I became the J who took charge to get them there before the train took off. If my team were mostly task-oriented, deadline-driven people, I was the fun-loving one who would help them loosen up and enjoy life. People on those teams would not recognize me as I am today.

These days, I am a total J because my life feels chaotic, causing my need for order to spin out of control. It’s harder than I imagined to juggle two books at once. My mind and my office space are littered with haphazard info that I must shape into some semblance of structure for the non-fiction prison book I’m currently writing, while spending much of my energy calming down my highly emotional ex-con who has to rehearse painful events so I can write about them.

I find I can’t make plans—for anything. When the first round of edits come back for the historical fiction novel that’s being published, I have to drop everything and complete my part in just a couple weeks. What if it comes when our houseguests are here (who sleep in my office, by the way)? Until the novel’s release date on November 20, I will have many such urgent publication deadlines.

But that’s not all. Being the caregiver for two parents in their late eighties means frequent and often unplanned trips to medical facilities—which is how I spent most of today. It also means that if I schedule anything  that involves me leaving town–even for a day, a shadow of uncertainty looms overhead. Will I be able to get away or should I stay put? What does a good daughter do?

Buried here in the middle of all this emoting is some really, really good news. I’ve just signed a contract with an agent for the non-fiction book that I’m currently writing (yay!), and he’s shopping for publishers right now. When he lands one, I’ll have two sets of publication deadlines.

Naturally, I am over-the-moon ecstatic over all this. I just hope I’m still (?) sane when the books come out.

 

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