Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My life as a Type A Personality

I am your textbook Type A Personality.

I've always been rigidly organized - I make shopping lists, I love timetables, and my lifestyle is a fixed almost militaristic regime. Bedtime and bed-rising time is the same every day, I set alarms, a few in fact, just in case I sleep through the first alarm (this has yet to happen). I exercise almost always on the same days, at the same time, and I know exactly when I need to turn my stove on to start preparing my lunch so I can leave for work.


I love packing my day full of activities from the moment I wake up till the moment I pass out in bed from sheer exhaustion. And I've even been told to "stop working"... in fact, during my teaching internship, my assessment was greatly penalized because I just wouldn't stop working through my lunch breaks and recess. I kid you not.

There are wonderful splendid things that come from being a Type A. You are always reliable, so everyone knows they can count on you. This can also be a double edged sword, because when everyone's dumping all their responsibilities on you, and you take it on because that's just your personality type, life can get quite stressful.

As a Type A, you will also strive hard to be good at everything that you do. I am innately very competitive, and I hate losing. In fact, I hate losing so much that I'd rather not participate if I know I'm going to lose. I've been trying to work around this, because life is so much better if it's not just about winning. My mind knows this, but every other part of me does not. That being said, wanting to be the best isn't always such a bad thing. You know you won't just be saying that you'll do your best, you know that it's really your best.

Also, you progress quickly in almost everything because you try so hard. Not to blow my own trumpet, but case in point, after I finished my Couch to 5K program, even while taking a month off in the middle, I can now complete 5km in 28 minutes, on flat terrain. Sure, it's not a great time, but I haven't been running for long, and I only run three times a week. The average runner who finishes the program completes the 5km route in about 34 minutes or so.

The massive downside of progressing quickly? Well, I'm very prone to injury. I'm impatient, and I lack the ability to self-regulate. It's as if I have no 'off' button once I begin. I have really wrecked my wrists from yoga through doing arm balances before I had built up enough strength to support them. I've also damaged my knee from running too far before my body was ready for it. Programs work really well for me to provide some kind of boundary to work within - yoga videos, and running apps are life savers... ok joint-savers :P

Also, the stress levels you experience as a Type A personality is off the charts. I am a massive stress ball, if it weren't for yoga and meditation, I think I'd look like I'm 50. Meditation is extremely difficult for me... training my mind to be still and to be mindful, and to physically sit and do nothing for 20 or so minutes is a major milestone in my life. It even took me awhile to learn how to relax while having baths, or while being at the spa.

There are loads of other little quirks/traits I have as a Type A. I do everything quickly...I used to be able to finish a whole plate of noodles in under 5 minutes, but have gradually learnt to slow it down. I drive fast, and hate when I'm caught behind someone slow. I rush my work, so I'm extremely efficient. But I'm also quick to anger and can get unreasonably touchy about things. Ahh... life in the fast lane :P

So, if you are a fellow Type A personality, here's my advice. Enjoy who you are, because you've achieved great things in life, and you have incredible personality traits that make you a great worker and a fantastic friend. But learn to pace yourself, actively let go when the time is right, and remember that life is not all about winning.

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