This crusader always has a plan. Sometimes even a back-up plan or two. ‘Type A’, highly organized, creature of habit, have all been words used to describe who I am. I like things well thought out and a plan that is executable. I had my future mapped out well before I graduated high school. I knew what I wanted to do for a living. I thought I had an edge. I had already figured out the elusive path I thought I would take in life. See where I am going with this? Oh the irony, a ‘type A’ planner ends up with the diagnosis of an unpredictable disease. The quote, “We make plans and God laughs” comes to mind. So how does a planner reconcile that certain aspects of life can’t be planned on anymore? With great difficulty and a lot of calming breaths!
I like lists. I write lists for everything. I have daily to do lists, goals for the year lists, and I never shop without a grocery list. My best friend mocks me for my need to write and then rewrite lists. I often feel bad for my poor white board; so many lists in such a small amount of time. I find list making can calm me. I don’t think that is too much of a stretch because I am an avid journal writer. Now if I can just temper my procrastination side and put all lists into action, I think everything will settle itself out.
When I was first diagnosed with MS I had lists of doctors I was seeing, appointment dates, medication options, things I needed to be aware of. There were lists of anything and everything. I think it was the first time I had to step back and realize that lists and plans weren’t going to make me or break me. I had to learn that I couldn’t rely exclusively on plans anymore –appointments can change at the drop of a hat. Things happen. It wasn’t something that was learned easily or overnight. It’s something I still struggle with at times. Lists are still a part of my life but my life is not dependent upon those lists or my previously thought out plans. Life has a natural ebb and flow that you cannot possibly grasp when you are in the midst of teenage angst or young adulthood. Life is a series of forward steps, backward steps, mistakes and lessons. The only important thing is that to keep learning and to keep striving to move forward. I don’t think this is exclusive to those of us in the MS community. I think we may just have to come to grips with those truths a little sooner than most.
So how does this planner continue on? I don’t think a person can change the quirks or traits that make them unique. However, they can change how they let those things impact their life. I still plan and make lists, but I realise those plans can change and that those lists may need to be rewritten. It is certainly not the end of the world and it certainly won’t break me! So join me as I take a giant step back from the dry erase pens and white board. Sometimes we all need a little time off!