Just like my morning cup of coffee, I need to have every single step of my day organized in my head. It allows me to go through everything smoothly, like a choreographed dance, calming and clearing my mind so I have the energy and focus to pursue my dreams. It’s as satisfying as setting up a domino show, then watching it tumble:
Life, however, almost never operates that easily. As things start falling off the rails, my head starts filling with anxious noise. I’m thrown into a tizzy of multiple thought streams speeding across my neural net, rendering me unable to focus on any one item for more than a few seconds. The noise will escalate until I can barely see or hear or feel the real world, my brain completely disconnected by the overloaded circuits. I can even be so stressed that I struggle to breathe.
I need to take some time, calm my head, clear my brain, and reset the dominoes. Sometimes, it’s just a few breaths or a walk around the block or completing an online survey or playing a video game or taking care of something that is hanging over me. Other times, I escape to dreamland, wishing for a life without worry. Occasionally, I can get so agitated that I have to lie down and take a nap just to avoid a major panic attack.
While I’m doing all these things to soothe my overwhelmed, overloaded brain back to coherent thought, time continues to march forward, as do the schedules and deadlines and time limits that trigger my anxiety in the first place. No wonder I’m always pressed—or stressed—for time. I never have enough time to finish a project or respond to someone or get somewhere because it just takes more time than I have.
Time becomes my enemy, and as the clock ticks, so does my anxiety, and as everything churns inside me, I start having the urge to act impulsively.
Sigh. The only thing worse than my relationship with time….is my relationship with impulsivity.
The beauty about having my head organized is feeling clear and calm and able to make thoughtful, reasoned decisions. I love being thoughtful, being able to think things through, being able to plan my decisions and their ramifications.
As I start stressing over how little time I have to get things done, my mind fills with panicked responses, ways to get the anxiety to clear as quickly as possible. I no longer care about being thoughtful or kind or considerate. I no longer care if I’m doing the job okay. I no longer care about anyone else’s feelings. I just want the chaotic mess out of my brain and back to calm and organized.
If I react to these impulsive feelings, it never ends well. I’ve lied and cheated. I’ve done work that was so careless and awful that it had to be redone. I’ve said horrible, hurtful things to people. I’ve made terrible mistakes. I’ve destroyed things that I had so carefully built. In the attempt to alleviate the chaos, I end up creating a bigger mess and losing even more time to the anger and panic.
I cannot give into this insanity, and yet, life often forces me to do so. I’m filled with regret over the impulsive decisions I’ve made over the years, many of which haunt me decades later.
Which brings me to my garage. It’s filled with an eclectic collection of stuff my ex-boyfriend acquired in an attempt to start a reseller business, but never could get it off the ground. What do you do when a global pandemic hits after you’ve drained your emergency savings? You start selling things.
Any day when I’m not working my other three (!) jobs, I’m in the garage, listing his random stuff online. It’s actually been cathartic to go through this process of selling each item, feeling like I’m stepping closer to financial freedom. However, I tend to be a little impulsive about pricing…..
What do you expect happens when I am selling things like electronics and tools and collectables at bottom-barrel prices in a county with a population of 700,000? Yup, my phone blows up like Jennifer Aniston’s did when she joined Instagram. (Okay, maybe not that much, but I’ve gotten some serious empathy for those IG folks with millions of followers.) it’s absolutely insane how crazed people get about a computer monitor I can’t guarantee works or a power drill without a battery, just because it’s only $5.
Most of the responses are male, and clearly impulsive. They are willing to run out the door and fly straight to my house to pick up the item, lest I sell to someone else. They offer more money than I’m listing in hopes that they can jump ahead in line. Their overly forward, determined behavior to mow down every obstacle in their way is unsettling, to say the least, especially for someone is often already stressed and overwhelmed by time and impulsive behavior.
In this chaos, my OCD becomes my superpower, treating the madness with rigid rules to implement calm and organization. My response to the impulsive insanity is on my timeline, a timeline that allows me to feel calm and organized. If I feel the need to impulsively respond, I set the phone down and wait until I’ve thought through my response. What’s amazing is by controlling the timeline and refusing to be impulsive, these guys calm down as well, becoming much easier to work with as they realize I’m going to be fair and considerate and thoughtful. Probably why I’m a highly rated seller.
Now to harness this superpower and apply it to other aspects of my life. And yes, to double my prices on Marketplace…..