Sunday, July 22, 2007

This is me = Transition Anxiety

This is me. From Oprah's August issue by Martha Beck:

Emma is a poster girl for Newton's first law of motion: Once she starts doing something, she just keeps doing it until acted upon by some external force. Each day when Emma's alarm clock rings, she drowsily hits the snooze button several times. The shower, when she finally gets there, is so steamy and fragrant, she lingers twice as long as strictly necessary. She dresses hurriedly, only to check the mirror and change. And so it goes: Coffee savoring takes 15 minutes; lipstick experimentation, five minutes; car key searching, another 10. Emma often arrives at the office late—but that's okay, because once there, she works into the night, until an external force in the form of her frustrated husband calls to see if she's alive. Emma stays up late to offer compensatory companionship, ensuring that in the morning, when the alarm clock rings, she'll be too tired to get up.

People either think Emma is an inconsiderate laggard or they shrug off her chronic difficulty making transitions, give her lavish time cushions, and judge her based on anything but punctuality. There's a key difference between people who become irritated with Emma and those who share Emma's inability to segue from one thing to the next. (continued)

Who knew there was a name for it? I realized years ago that it wasn't just that I tended to be late or couldn't keep track of time. It's that I'm usually happiest wherever I am. The next thing is less important. I'm just not restless that way. It's more of a Be Here Now. And isn't that the zen goal? That's the rationalization anyway. In practice, it's a real mixed bag.


Anita said...

Speaking from personal experience, you are also very good at that compensatory companionship thing, staying up late to talk to (or e-mail) others. I've always appreciated it!

Anne Thompson said...

i"m terrible in this way too. I'm always late. but I put in more hours at my work and at home (at my work) than anyone should. and i give up pleasure to do it.