January 11, 2017

A few years ago I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project.

I enjoyed it immensely and still go back and re-read sections when I need a reminder on how to handle certain situations in life. It is truly the only “self help” book I have ever finished.

Today I found myself back on her web page and taking her quiz to determine what type of person I am when it comes to handling inner and external expectations. Things like work deadlines, New Years resolutions, life altering decisions.

Try it yourself here.

The four categories, or types, are Upholder, Questioner, Rebel and Obliger. She has developed a quick quiz to help you determine which category you fall into. It was quite interesting. The questions seemed a bit random but the results were bang on for me.

I am a questioner. I have a tendency to question everything before I will move ahead with a project or decision.

The fact that I even took the quiz proves that I needed to know what type I was before I could move on with my day.

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Do You Have a Personality?

personalities

It’s been about eighteen months since I started the search for my “thing”.  Some days I think I’ve found it in this blog and other days I am even more lost than before.  One thing is for sure, I am in awe of my passionate and talented friends and their ability to balance their lives with kids, exercise and whatever career/hobby/love they have taken on in their daily routine.

So as I continue to ponder what I am going to do when I grow up, I have been wondering if some of these online personality tests might be helpful.  Corporations sometimes use them to test potential employees to see if they are a good fit.  My son took one in grade twelve to help him figure out what courses he should take in university.  I did my very first personality test during the church counseling my ex-husband and I did before we got married.  Ya, that worked out great didn’t it.

But yet, I am still intrigued.  Am I the person I think I am?  Will this help me realize my potential?  If I do it, will the computer spit out the perfect job for me?  Please don’t tell me I should have been a nurse. I hate hospitals.

So I get comfy in front of the laptop and start my search for enlightenment.

I quickly realize that the mack daddy of all personality tests is the Myers-Briggs test.  The test is based on four preferences, that when combined show a personality type.  The four traits are introvert/extrovert, sensitive/intuitive, feeling/thinking, and judging/perceiving.  Through answering a number of seemingly random questions you arrive at a type.  Not even really a type.  You get a four letter designation that is supposed to tell the world (and you) what makes you tick.

Four letters.

Can you imagine introducing yourself at a party?

“Hi, I’m an ESFJ.”

MyersBriggsTypes

I took the test on a number of different web sites as they all seemed a bit different from one another.  Some of the questions were just worded differently but you could tell they were asking the same thing.  For example, on the first test the question was a yes or nor question.

You don’t usually initiate conversations. Yes or no?

On the second test you had to choose between

Likes to perform in front of people or avoids public speaking.

Clearly they are asking if are you an extrovert or an introvert.

Anyway, I tried to answer as honestly as I could without over thinking the questions and thus pre-determining the outcome.  That alone says something about me.  I’m not sure what, but I’m sure I will find out in 12-15 minutes.

The results of the first test said I was an extrovert but the second and third ones said I was an introvert.  I totally get that.  I do love to be social and am outgoing and comfortable speaking in front of groups of people.  On the other hand, I love, no crave, my alone time.  I guess it comes downs to how you ask me the question. So really this tells me nothing.  Next.

I am definitely a sensing person rather than an intuitive person.  That was clear in all the tests. I learn faster when I can be hands on.  I tend to not believe things until I have experienced them myself.  Again.  Nothing surprising about that.

I figured I would be a J. J is for judgement right?  No?  No. Judging suggests a preference for a structured lifestyle.  Given that I am an organizational junkie, this also comes as no surprise.  Although I think I can be pretty intuitive as well.  I like to think that I see the big picture when it comes to complex issues.

So that brings us to feeling versus thinking.  And really this is why I am here in the first place. There is too much overlap between my brain and my heart.  I can’t separate what I want to do and what I think I should do.  I tried not to answer too many of these questions with a neutral answer but I guess the tests picked up on that.  This is when my creative side battles with my pragmatic side and the results reflected that.

Right, so I have spent the better part of the morning reaffirming what I already knew.  Great. The Best Thing in Life is knowing your own personality .  The Worst Thing in Life is not knowing what to do with it.  My search continues.

PS.  Apparently I should have been a nurse….or an army general.

Call Your Mom

mom boat

Just before Christmas my dad called and said that he had taken my mom to the hospital. She was having trouble breathing so they were running some tests. She was on oxygen and feeling okay by the time he left to go home. He was really calm and matter of fact so I assumed there was no huge emergency. I had an appointment close to the hospital that morning so I stopped by with a couple of magazines for her to read. She was off the oxygen, sitting up in bed and looked normal. I left the hospital and called my dad to tell him that she wanted her cell phone. She went home later that day and we waited for the outcome of her tests. Congestive heart failure. Not great news, but manageable and we all enjoyed a happy holiday season. Small sigh of relief.

Now its February and she is back in the hospital. Her heart was the original concern but after some preliminary testing they are doing more tests on her digestive system and monitoring her heart. She also has Parkinson’s Disease. Just to complicate things. She’s been in the hospital for almost a week now and I’m kind of having a hard time with it. I feel confused and scared and I just want it all to stop. I want the doctors to figure out what’s wrong with her and fix it damn it. Okay, so maybe add angry to that list of things I’m feeling. What if the results are bad? What if she needs surgery? She’s 82 years old and surgery would put extra pressure on her heart. What if her heart can’t take it?

mom skiing

So I’m doing what I typically do when I’m avoiding something bad. I’m cleaning the house. Top to bottom, bathrooms, floors, kitchen. Anything to stop thinking about it. The hardest time is trying to get to sleep at night. As I lie in my cozy bed I can’t help but think about my mom lying in the hospital. Uncomfortable bed, noises from the hall and nurses station, monitors glowing above her and side effect from the medications she is on. She’s putting on a brave face but I know how miserable she is and I want to help her. She was the one who always made me comfortable when I was sick. She’s the one who brought down all those high fevers I suffered from. She’s always been the one to make me feel better. I have taken her cookies, a crossword puzzle book, some sushi but it all seems so futile. I want to make all the icky stuff go away like she used to do for me.

In a lot of ways all of this would be easier if I was a religious person. I would have an outlet for my feelings and somebody to pray to. Maybe I could resign myself to the fact that this was God’s plan. And if it was serious, and she did pass away, I would know that she was in heaven and at peace. But I’m not religious and I don’t really know how to handle it. I’m a black and white person. I like things in neat packages and I like having all my questions answered. And not with “we don’t know yet”. I don’t have anything to turn to and make this earlier. I don’t have answers and there really is very little that I can do. Now I know why some people drink.

So this is what it all boils down to. The fact that it’s totally out of not only my hands, but anybody’s hands. It’s just that I’m not ready for this. I know she’s not going to die today. Probably not even this week. But this is the first time I’ve thought that it could happen. I can’t help but feel like this is the beginning of the end. I don’t want to feel that way but I do. She could very well be around for another ten years. But even that’s just not long enough for me. I don’t want her to die. There I said it. She drives me crazy sometimes but I’m not ready for her not to be there to drive me crazy.

So in the words of recent Oscar winner J.K. Simmons…..call your mom. Go. Do it now.