Details! I need details! Anxiety waiting to happen

crazy womanI admire laid back people. Those people who don’t seem to have a care in the world. They always expect the best to happen and never do the “what if’s.” If something goes awry, they muddle through. They survive. The world does not come to an end.


Is that just a façade? Are they a closet worrier? Do they bottle it up inside and shred their guts or live free of care and worry?


How can you be like that? Is it something you develop or a genetic marker you are born with? Is it nature or nurture?


I’m not one of those people. Perhaps I always had responsibilities. There are always contingency plans in my back pocket – an alternative when the worst scenario happens. Maybe I’m nuts. Let’s call it neurotic. That’s so much more in.


When I was a child I would get excited about doing something fun — so excited that I would get sick. My mother wouldn’t tell me about it until we were on our way out the door hoping I wouldn’t barf in the car. Sometimes that worked.


During my business years all the planning paid off big time. I did well by having an ace in my back pocket when something went wrong. The ability to change horses in the middle of the stream can be a real business asset. Life was good.


Then I retired.


This characteristic doesn’t play out as well at home, at least not unless there is a project going on.


The beloved husband is one of those laid back folks. I can drive him crazy with my planning. Retirement isn’t about details. It’s about going with the flow.


Flow doesn’t do it for me. I like things well planned with the option to change. It’s like free-falling. Some people like it and some people don’t. Without details I get anxiety.


When I get anxiety it’s not pretty. It manifests itself as a physical ailment – creepy crawly flesh under the skin and the sensation of a head ready to bust.


My remedy is peace and calm. Routine helps. Oh yes and a nice Starbucks on a lazy afternoon.


Yes I do see the irony. If I started with the remedy perhaps the anxiety wouldn’t flare. That’s easier said than done!


Are you a neurotic planner or a let it happen person?


41 thoughts on “Details! I need details! Anxiety waiting to happen

  1. I’m absolutely the neurotic planner. I’m flexible and willing to change course as needed, but I like to have a sense of what’s going on before it happens. I like to think of myself as an optimist with a back-up plan.


  2. I loved this, Kate. I come from a long line of neurotic planners. We have euphemisms to describe it…we’re just very strategic, you see. I have it in my blood and can never move too far from being a planner with a love of routine, but I’m better than I used to be simply because there is always someone in my world who doesn’t abide by the rules. My daily goal is to take some steps away from that need to hold onto the plan or create too many new ones. Some days go better than others. 🙂


  3. Everything plan I make I cancel, like this weekend for instance. Got too anxious thinking about three days with such a chatterbox, like going away with a canary…who drives. If I want something to happen, I can’t let me know about it, yet I’m ready for Armageddon. Go figure. I blame it on hormones, but I was like this at 20.


        • I have a huge tome of all Nora Ephron’s work. I mean it’s so big it flattens your stomach. You can probably get it on Kindle. I should get a Kindle…anyway…there are all these pieces I’ve never read…also, the whole screenplay of When Harry Met Sally…so I will spend the weekend with Nora. For the record, the other reason I didn’t go, is because he never called. I had already decided to stay in town, but the fucker, sorry for the slang, well not really…invites me then blows me off. It was a blessing, though a rude one, in disguise.


  4. Neurotic planner. Anxious worrier. Gotta have a plan if something screws up. I have had to do extra duty worrying cause I have to do the worrying that CH doesn’t do. He is one of those laid back types. Currently worrying about what the dang heck is under the porch, did it have babies? Was it the raccoon we got yesterday. How much more money am I going to have to pay the Critter Control guy before we get the porch sealed up? What is next this summer? I am worn out. No time for blogging!


  5. I often feel nervous when I do something for the first time. I guess it’s like the first day of school for a child. On the second day of school, I can remember thinking, oh, the first day of sixth grade is just about like the last day of fifth grade, so I should remember not to feel nervous about the first day of seventh grade. By the following year, of course, I’d forgotten. One thing that still makes me tense is driving someplace I’ve never been, especially if I have to be there on time.

    I make lists, and most of the time I simply do one thing at a time, choosing either the most pleasant or the most urgent thing to do first. Then I cross it off the list. I do pack for trips ahead of time, sometimes trying on clothes to see if they still look alright. I don’t like to plan trips, though. I’d rather have someone else do that.


    • Ohhhh! I don’t like planning trips — the how to get there and where to stay part. After that’s done, I do the lists. I also try on clothes. That I learned the hard way by accidentally taking my too tight jeans on a trip. I came home and donated them!


  6. I’m better than I used to be… I used to have to drive to a new destination the day before an appointment in order to check it out. Sometimes I’d feel that I needed to drive ahead of the drive ahead visit. Crazy making much? Oh yeah, and I got over most of it. Sure, I know that go with the flow makes for a lot fewer anxious moments and even turns the surprises into pleasant ones. But I’m not 100% converted. But I do plan, and kindly ask you to reserve a table for two at Starbucks. Meet you there… as soon as I scope out the drive on Google Maps Streetview!


    • I’ve been know to do a dry run for something important. Especially if I thought the drive was tricky and it was before GPS. Of course my GPS recommends streets that don’t exist. The odd thing is I was less anxious when I worked. Perhaps I didn’t have time to dwell on anything.


  7. It depends on the topic how neurotic I am. If we’re talking about getting together with people to do things, I’m laid back because nothing ever goes as planned when it comes to friends & family. I’m laid back about meal planning and house cleaning and finishing the book I’m reading. But I’m a crazy nut job about going on vacations and decorating the house. Those topics I plan with military precision and have about 10 back-up plans. Guess I’m kind of a mixed bag on this topic.


  8. I’m like Nancy, I make lists…for everything, but I do deviate from the lists now and then. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I can’t control everything and it’s been a huge stress reliever.


    • Philosophically I agree. However, I can’t get my body to not worry even when it’s not all that important. It may be that the anxiety is triggered by something else but I have not idea what.


      • I completely understand, Kate. It took me a long time to get to this point. I worried about everything, until it took it’s toll on my heath. Time is something we can never get back and I made the decision that my time wouldn’t be spent worrying about things I couldn’t control and wouldn’t really matter 5 years from now. I’m a WIP, so don’t get too stressed about it. Journaling about my worries was very helpful.


        • Writing is therapeutic. Since blogging I have found there are many people like me in many ways. Not everyone in all ways but enough to get affirmation and encouragement and giggles.


  9. I am not so much for plans. I am more of a general outline kinda peep. Too many or too detailed plans make me nervous. At work I am organized but still pretty much take what comes as it comes. Most days are smooth some bumpy but I do my best, go home, and forget it until I go back the next work day. To be truthful I was not always like this…drugs help.


  10. I’m a go-with-the-flow planner. I make lists, check them twice, assume things will go as planned, don’t worry much about worst case scenarios (unless they manifest themselves), accept the inevitable curve balls, roll with the punches, come up with Plan B, etc.

    But I tend to avoid doing things that I know will cause more stress/risk than reward: I don’t go bungee jumping (so I never have to worry about the “rubber band” snapping); I don’t swim with sharks or alligators (so I don’t worry about being live bait); I don’t give drivers who cut me off in traffic the finger (so I rarely worry about road rage), etc.

    In short, I try to make choices that increase the odds that things will go right, rather than wrong.


  11. Nope – always plan…and plan alternate plans for some stuff like trips. I can relax some with a ultra focused detailed oriented family… who I keep busy with one assigned area so I can plan the big stuff which they can’t ever get to because they are so busy with the ultra tiny stuff…
    Bubbling fountains. We all need “peace and calm”, definitely routines – and more Starbucks!


  12. We must be twins separated at birth. Always always always have a backup plan, which is good for pet sitting. Might not be so good if I ever get to retire.


    • I was trying to remember my first back up plan and I couldn’t. Probably had it in the birth canal…..”if I can’t get out of here feet first….what am I gonna do….”


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