Classes are red, work is purple, obligatory weekly events are yellow, optional weekly events are brown, obligatory one-time events are orange, optional one-time events are blue and my to-do list is green.
My calendar could easily be mistaken for an explosion of a Skittles factory by an unsuspecting Type B personality.
I’ve never been tardy to class, every text message I send has proper spelling and grammar, I make my bed every day, I have never turned in an assignment late and I always clean the table after eating.
For goodness’ sake, if you leave your school bag alone with me for too long, it will be gloriously immaculate by the time you return.
I’m a Type A personality in almost every respect. I’m a perfectionist, I’m organized, I’m a planner, I’m busy and I may be a bit controlling. Maybe.
But my intentions are totally pure. (After all, you’re clearly the one with the problem, with your haphazard filing system and non-color-coded closet.) I’m simply trying to fix what’s wrong in my world — and yours if you get too close.
I can’t help it. It’s who I am.
But this summer, to my dismay, I was forced to relinquish many elements of “who I am.” For two months I lived and studied in Madrid, Spain. Spaniards are some of the most generally Type B personalities to ever exist.
There’s a saying about Spain that only two things are consistently on time: the trains and the soccer games. Do you know what that did to a person like me?
But an expectation of tardiness wasn’t the limit of my torture. To a Type A, Spain is inconsistent, whimsical and inefficient.
I couldn’t have an itinerary outside of class, considering how unpredictable everything seemed to be. I was frustrated, lost and going crazy.
Then something miraculous happened: I began to enjoy myself.
I loved not knowing what would happen or when or how. I lived for the days I could walk alone around Madrid, having no idea where I was until I finally stumbled across a metro stop. I woke up in the morning asking myself what new treasure I would find today — perhaps a rose garden, perhaps a cafe with an endless array of English books, perhaps a statue of someone otherwise long-forgotten.
There was something wonderfully terrifying about renouncing almost all power and predictability, and I’m certain I couldn’t have appreciated that adventure so fully if I wasn’t me — a typical Type A, used to controlling everything.
In short, I got a break from myself, and it helped me get to know me better.
I will always be a Type A, and I love that about me. My thoughts will always focus on the future, my home will never be messy and my calendar will always be colorfully maintained.
But no longer will the insufficient excuse of “that’s just who I am” allow me to forget the beauty of my B side — to not only accept that I have no idea what will happen but to revel in the exhilaration of the unknown.
Follow Falon Opsahl on Twitter: @FalonGraphic
As published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.