It stinks being a Type-A sometimes because no matter how great things might be going for me, I can never feel satisfied. I always want more and more. Like, excuse me, did you say more validation? Sure, I’ll take it. Oh, you have more friends for me, too? Yes, bring them on. And, wait, what’s this, you’re handing me more responsibilities? I mean, I’m already swamped but, fuck it, I’ll take those too.
Being a Type-A is constantly thinking that there is something, out there, that is much better than what is right here in front of me. In other words, it is the idea that I can always be improving, either on myself or at life. And although I know, intellectually, that the ultimate finish line of any improvement in life is death, I still want to keep improving; keep achieving, and keep going higher and higher until my nose is pressing right on that fucking glass ceiling.
Looking at it now, I suppose what I’ve just described sounds like our basic, human instinct to always be self-improving, and so it’s not something that is mutually exclusive to people with Type-A personalities. And I can totally see that. However, in my particular case, the sensation to always self-improve has become exaggerated to the point where it is, almost, unsafe to be a Type-A person. On the one hand, though, having a Type-A personality is a good thing because it means that I’ll never be mediocre. But on the other hand, it means that I’ll also never know what it feels like to actually relax, and have a good time.
In some ways, I guess you could say that having a Type-A personality is both a gift and a curse and that the more that I become aware of its paradoxical properties, the more manageable it will be. And, yes, that would be an accurate assessment. The problem, though, is that, lately, it’s starting to feel more like a curse than a gift.
I once heard Johannes Heesters say; ” My secret to a long, healthy life is to always keep working….,” and I’ve always liked that quote because it sort of made sense to the way that I viewed the world. But I never actually gave it a great deal of thought. Like for instance; is it possible to have a long, healthy life without having to, constantly, be working all the time? Logically, I know the answer is, yes, but emotionally, I don’t feel it to be true. Namely, because I feel that there’s always something that needs to be done; or there’s always a goal that needs to be accomplished, or there’s always an empty box, somewhere, that needs to be checked off.
In that previous quote from Johannes Heesters, he goes on to say that, working “keeps me busy and happy, and [it] gives me a reason to stay alive.” Although Johannes Heesters and others like him have gone to have successful careers because of their way of thinking, I don’t want to be like them. Chiefly because I know, quite painfully, that there’s a difference between achieving success and actually feeling happy about it. In other words, just because you’re successful doesn’t mean that you’re happy.
Image by Jordan Whitfield from Unsplash.