Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Today I found out I was accepted into grad school. I am filled with over the moon excitement. I find it surprising that I am able to feel such joy over this accomplishment. I have a Type A personality which, quite frankly, is not healthy and has often contributed to feelings of misery.
Type A individuals tend to be very competitive and self-critical. They strive toward goals without feeling a sense of joy in their efforts or accomplishments.
Lately, I have been filled with regret over many decisions I was forced to make during undergrad. Although I know that everything happens for a reason and I was afforded the opportunities I have now due to the path I have taken, I still feel a tinge of sorrow. So many things would have been simpler had different decisions been made. Despite me graduating with honors, despite me gaining full-time employment post undergrad, despite my employment being fulfilling towards my happiness and my career, I STILL beat myself up over so many things. I can easily find a way to beat down every single one of my accomplishments.
Type A personalities experience a constant sense of urgency: Type A people seem to be in a constant struggle against the clock. Often, they quickly become impatient with delays and unproductive time, schedule commitments too tightly, and try to do more than one thing at a time, such as reading while eating or watching television.
When I made the decision not to immediately apply to law school post undergrad, I felt like a failure. It was a decision that I KNEW was best. I KNEW that law schools liked applicants with work experience vs K-JD applicants. I KNEW that law school was never going anywhere and it was smarter to explore other passions and career options beforehand. I KNEW I needed more molding and life experiences that would better prepare me for the law school journey. Even in me knowing all of that, the fact that I was not attending law school during the time I initially planned to made me sick.
Even when I quit my job to focus on pursuing my TFA journey, I felt like a lazy bum. It did not matter that I was juggling being a full-time student with two different jobs just a month ago. It certainly did not matter that for the past two years, I worked, took 15-18 credit hours each semester, and managed my extracurricular activities. I knew that it was crucial for my mental health to take this break and really work towards my dreams. That knowledge did not ease my thoughts of being a failure. Even though my days were filled with TFA application tasks and my own research, I still felt like my time was unproductive.
It affects my everyday life. On Easter Sunday, Bossman and I were to travel out of town. I asked him to begin getting ready and make the bed because I would be ready to go by a certain time. He waited until I was fully ready to get up and start getting ready. Although I set a time for us to leave, leaving later would not have impacted anyone’s lives. Even in knowing that, I was LIVID. I was so livid, I broke my nail making the bed myself since he had not done so. This sent me further into a blind rage. I traveled the entire hour and a half with headphones in my ear singing over the radio he was listening to. It is so hard to explain my anger, but I felt hot inside. Leaving later did not matter, it was not like anyone was waiting around for us, but it still bothered me that we did not leave at the time I had designated. I often get called a brat or dramatic by people in a joking way, but what they don’t understand is that I am not trying to be either or. Wasted time or time spent unproductively affects me emotionally. I get down right furious to the brink of tears.
When people think of Type A personalities, they think of overachievers. It is so much more than that. It is a constant feeling of (unhealthy) competition against self. It is the constant feeling of inadequacy. It is the inability to deal with change and things not going according to plan.
All through undergrad, all I could focus on was graduating. I took on extra classes just to graduate “on time” (I technically graduated in 3 1/2 years instead of 4). Now that I’ve graduated, I wish I could redo undergrad and cherish the moments most students get to experience.
Now that I have been accepted into my dream Masters program and have an amazing job, all I can think about is 2-3 years later when I will be in law school. I cannot even relish in my accomplishments now because I keep thinking happiness is at the END of the tunnel.
Destination Addiction coupled with my Type A Personality is bad news bears. Very recently (2 weeks ago), I realized that if I did not get this under control now, I will be 40 years old with a thriving career in Education Law, a beautiful family, and an amazingly fulfilled life and still completely unsatisfied. I don’t want to go to school for 9 years with hard work under my belt all to downplay everything that I put in and remain unhappy.
In coming to this realization, I have already started to implement some changes. Bossman has been in and out of school since we first met our freshmen year. For the past 2 years, he’s been focused on work. I had him on a strict time table where he needed to get back in school, take a full course load both summer sessions PLUS both semesters to finish his credits in one year. Now that I realize rushing through school comes with some regrets, I have encouraged him to pace it out and truly experience undergrad. I want him to get involved in organizations on campus. I want him to take his time and cater to his GPA rather than taking too many credits and bringing it down. I want him to make connections and figure out his career. His job as a supervisor is great now. Good money, great benefits, with an amazing company. If he chooses to stay here and move up the corporate ladder, I support that decision. In the meantime, I want him to take his time finishing his degree. Life is not a race. Happiness is not on reserve for those that finish first.
I have an AMAZING job (that can also become my career should I choose) that is working towards my dream career. I have been accepted into one of the Nation’s most prestigious schools in a program ranked with Harvard’s program. I have (dare I say) a perfect relationship with my best friend and the man of my dreams. We are finally in a place of financial stability. I have so much to celebrate, so many achievements to bask in, and so much happiness to indulge.
We have lived in our new apartment since November and I still have not decorated the living room because I keep thinking about a new apartment when we move. Our apartment now is beautiful, and we are in a space of stability where we can afford it, our bills, pay off debt, have money to save, and have money to spend. I was in such love with my future happiness I could not stop and smell the roses here. That is going to change.
I will still swear by my agenda, and still keep a vision/prayer journal, and still have a 5-10 year plan, but you know what? I will no longer beat myself up over everything and I will definitely no longer seek happiness in the future when God has given me every bit of happiness now.