The reorganization of my over-abundant systems of organization is well underway. I hit a bit of a snag with all the synchronizing needed to compile an accurate task list and my calendar. I’ve nearly scrapped the whole thing a couple times because it seems more complicated than it should be, but there is something very powerful about breaking a task down into steps, which is what Toodledo can give me with Subtasks. I needs it in my life!
I’m unfocused. I don’t really know how else to describe it. I have a hundred things I need and want to do and I can’t decide what the priority should be. So like any reasonable human being, I’m not going to do a thing.
I woke up early this morning. (I’m still in awe of my actually being awake in the morning these days.) I read through a lot of new blogs, searching out tags on introverts, INTJ, INFJ, minimalism, etc. (By the way, if you haven’t discovered Readline – the Chrome browser Extension, it’s pretty awesome for being able to speed-read!)
These are the words I hear every day when I walk in the door. Soon after comes an onslaught of bear hugs and a showering of kisses. My friends once joked that I wouldn’t make a good wife because I wasn’t touchy-feely. What they didn’t understand was that I wasn’t against affection. I was simply selective! Imagine their surprise when one of my top love languages ended up being physical touch. [The others are quality time, and acts of service, which my friends and I enjoy in ample amounts.]
I now have a steady supply of all my top love languages: physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. You can take the test, based on Gary D. Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, here. Typically you’ll just have one main language and one secondary, but true to my never fitting the personality mold, I have three. It’s pretty convenient though. I don’t need an abundance of any one thing to be satisfied. Thankfully, the hu’band is the family cook, he likes to kiss my face, and he likes to breathe the same air as me, so we’re good!
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.
Last month I sent exactly 600 emails and received 947. I have categorized and archived 18,119 emails since February 1, 2014 – and those are just the emails I saved! Thousands more were deleted. Setting priorities is paramount to my job performance. At any given time in the past four years, I maintain about 100 conversations in various stages of completion. By the time I get home, my mind is a blur. All I want to do is kick off my heels, have dinner, watch a show, play a game, and maybe do some writing.
The hu’band has to be the most accommodating partner I could ask for. When our goddaughters came to live with us, we decided he would work part-time so he could be available to pick them up from school, and be with them in the afternoon. I have continued to work full-time. I never expected to end up with this kind of role-reversal, but it’s what made the most sense. And now he does his own homework in the afternoons! He went back to school full-time last month to earn a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. I think I may retire when he graduates! (Not really, I think I’d go crazy, but it’s nice to know he will be out-earning me one day, and I’ll be able to support him the same way he’s supported me.)
Quality TimeIn the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities. This is what I mean by breathing each other’s air. Whatever I’m doing, I want him there with me. I want his feedback at a moment’s notice. I want him to laugh at something funny that I read. I want him to listen when I make a noteworthy discovery. I want him to kiss me when I say something witty. I want him to hear me, and he does!
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.
Yeah, don’t get all squirmy. It’s actually not about sex at all. It’s about foreplay. Okay, sorry, I should have warned you, but it’s true! If this wasn’t such a big part of our private and public relationship, the hu’band wouldn’t have a prayer by the time we get to the bedroom. All the kisses on my face and pecks on the neck and hugs from behind and hands on my back and dances in the kitchen keep an unending stream of affection running between us. It solidifies the fact that we not only love each other, but we like each other too. As a creature who enjoys sex as an emotional connection, you can probably guess that liking my spouse is absolutely essential.
Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.
Here’s where we start getting into my uncomfortable territory. I do not accept compliments very well. Typically, I find them highly suspicious and almost never sincere. Which is odd, now that I say that. It’s not that I don’t think I’m worthy of the compliment. I actually compliment myself quite a bit. It’s just that when it comes out of someone else’s mouth, I doubt whether they’re qualified to give me that kind of feedback. “Oh, you’re so organized!” Really? You should see my bathroom drawer. “Oh, you’re so good with those kids!” Seriously? I’m just trying not to warp them.
Generic compliments tend to end up in my emotional waste basket as failed attempts to manipulate me. Detailed compliments, on the other hand, I can appreciate. “Your training was fun.” Heck yeah it was! “Your linen closet is so neat and pristine!” Isn’t it, though?! “I love how you taught the kids the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. You hit all the right points.” I know, right?!
I plain do not understand people who have this as their main love language. It’s a perfectly legitimate emotional need, but I have never been able to cater to it. I offer sincere, detailed compliments when I can, but that’s about as far as I can go. Flowery, generic, wide-sweeping, glowing remarks just don’t come out of my mouth.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.
Lucky for the hu’band and I, this is the lowest on the totem pole for both of us. So low, in fact, that we don’t buy each other specific gifts for specific events. At least I don’t remember getting or giving gifts on birthdays or Christmas the last few years. He did get me flowers and wine and cheese for our last anniversary, but he does that just because sometimes too. I understand that this particular emotional need comes from wanting to feel cherished and treasured, but I’m just not that sentimental about things. I purge as often as I buy, so unless the gift is priceless, it should probably be consumable, otherwise I’m gonna donate that sucker as soon as I forget who gave it to me or why.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little rendition of my hierarchy of emotional needs. Let me know what your top love languages are!
In return, I would like to nominate the following blogs. (I’m sorry there are not fifteen, I only started blogging again a few months ago.)
- Into The Introvert
- Authentically Aurora
- Aging Introvert
- Introspection Theory
- Because Life Happens
- INFJ Blog
- I Refuse to Follow Your Blog
- Christian INTP
- INFJ Ramblings
- Adventures of the Vay Jay Brigade
- Ben’s Bitter Blog
Lastly, here are 7 things about myself:
- I graduated high school, third in my class, with a 4.12 GPA. I have completed exactly 40 college courses (122 semester credits) with a 3.67 GPA, but I do not have a bachelor’s degree.
- One month after beginning my first tax season as an income tax preparer I was promoted to office supervisor over approximately 15 employees and was awarded employee of the season a few months later. I was 24 years old. The following year I was asked to teach the income tax preparation course.
- I never dated until the summer after I graduated high school. I spent nearly two years
pining away forwasting my life over my first boyfriend who broke up with me after just three months. He kept me on the hook with phone calls and dinners, but we never got back together.
- I traveled to Thailand in March 2005, just three months after the tsunami hit southeast Asia. I spent two months there with a team of 36, working with Habitat for Humanity, helping to rebuild houses.
- I’m a classically trained pianist. I started playing in the 3rd grade and I never had to be asked to practice. My family complained constantly that they couldn’t hear the TV or talk on the phone because I played so much. They finally moved the piano into my room so they could be left undisturbed.
- I’ve been my parent’s bookkeeper since I was 15. At 19 I designed an Access database to manage production at my dad’s commercial print shop. I was tired of double and triple entry to keep track of jobs that were in the works, out for proof, ready for shipment, etc. I didn’t know how to use Access when I started, but before I was done, I managed to integrate paper orders, press schedules, and bindery deadlines. It made our morning production meetings a lot easier and replaced the paper system they had used for over 15 years. It took me about a month to iron out the details, and my dad still uses the database to this day.
- I have ridiculously thick hair and it’s usually kept long. When I was in junior high I would practice french braiding it while I watched movies. Consequently, my skills have been recruited to braid a lot of hair over the years: cross country teammates before races, Habitat for Humanity teammates (see #4) in the 110-degree-99-percent humidity of Thailand, and recently, my goddaughter’s hair before her basketball games.
I find myself faced with the same problem I had as a senior in high school. What should I do? As a model student, valedictorian, elite choir member, worship leader, natural bookkeeper, exemplary customer service representative, college-bound, good-with-kids, and mature young woman, the world seemed to be at my feet. “If you could do anything…” didn’t seem like a prompt for my imagination to take flight. It was more like a very real problem.
Twelve years later I’m still in a quandary. What to do? At times I feel I would be grateful if I were only good at one thing; one obvious thing that dominated my life and defined me; however, fate has not blessed me with such a talent. I operate in many directions at once, all of them more advanced than average; and none of them more intriguing to me than another. I can just as easily immerse myself in a complex spreadsheet of data and pivot tables and graphs and functions as I can engage a company-wide issue of policy and procedure. In the next breath, I can discuss a complicated problem with a customer and empathize to build relationship and trust.
It’s become more and more clear to me that it I’m not really interested in specific business industries. I’m energized primarily by puzzles. Puzzles with people and processes and forms and interviews and software and databases and intuition. I like solving problems. I like being the hero, even if it’s only for a select few that see the value in what I do. I like to see my plan in action. I derive a surprising amount of pride from seeing someone utilize a solution I’ve instituted; like a goddess smiling on her creation.
“Consulting then,” I tell myself, and then I’m immediately self-defeated. “Who would listen to me? I don’t look the part of someone who’s got it all figured out and put together. I’m not inspiring. Who would trust me with their business?”
Once again I surprise myself. I had no idea I was so insecure.
I took the Myers-Briggs personality test not long ago and discovered that I’m INFJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling (6%), Judging). The hu’band took the same test tonight and discovered that he’s an INTJ (same as me, but Thinking instead of Feeling). Here’s where this gets funny: we’re described by our friends and family as total opposites.
The hu’band goes by “Spike,” as you might have guessed from my blog address. He wore his mohawk hair in 10-inch liberty spikes through high school. He was a punk rocker. He’s a black belt that’s been in a few fights. He still plays a mean guitar, and he’s got a fair share of tattoos, including one across his neck and a half-sleeve on one arm.
Then there’s little unassuming me (by comparison). I’ve had long hair most of my life, but I’ve never done anything crazy with it. I’ve never gotten a tattoo. I play classical piano. I’d probably cry and pass out if anyone ever physically threatened me (or maybe I’d kill them, I’m not really sure).
Still, somehow, our personality types are almost identical. He’s a true Thinker though. I’m a little more balanced in the Nature area between Feeling and Thinking. It’s just crazy to me that we can come from vastly different backgrounds and experiences and end up with the same types of reactions to the world around us.
For the record, I’ve never been happier in my life than I have the last three years. Our anniversary is next month. The time has flown by, and I have never been so well loved nor so comfortable with being who I truly am. Having the same personality traits definitely seems to be working for us!
I’m new to WordPress, but it seems that a lot of people have their Myers-Briggs Type published somewhere on their blog. Makes sense. It’s nice to know the type of person who’s writing.
So here I am:
Favorite world: Introversion (I)
Information: Intuition (N).
Decisions: Strictly speaking, I got Feeling (F), but only 6%. Given the personality type descriptions, I’d say I’m fairly balanced between Feeling (F) and Thinking (T).
Structure: Judging (J)
According to www.myersbriggs.org INFJs are vision and meaning-oriented. Quietly intense. Insightful. Creative. Sensitive. Seeks harmony, growth. Serious. Loves language, symbols. Persevering. Inspiring.
INTJs are vision-oriented. Quietly innovative. Insightful. Conceptual. Logical. Seeks understanding. Critical. Decisive. Independent. Determined. Pursues competence, improvement.
I’m sure some would say I must be more one than the other, but I’ve never fit personality test molds quite right. Both of these describe me. I will say, being married to my husband has allowed me to be more Feeling and less Thinking, but that’s only been the last few years. At work, I’m definitely INTJ. At home, I’m more INFJ.
The hu’band turned me on to Tiny House culture awhile back and my sister recently reintroduced it to me. Given the way my blog is trending and my reaction to the Tiny House, I think I’m getting sick of having too much stuff in my life. Watching this video made me want to pack a bag and move in tomorrow!
Seriously, sign me up!
Then I watched this video from a “professional organizer” about managing clutter and it made me cringe:
Both individuals are incredibly organized, but I’m much more drawn to one over the other.
Obviously, the difference is simplicity. How much stuff does a person actually need to function? Does anyone actually need to cover an entire door with pocketed office supplies? I would take me a decade to use up that many office supplies, (which I’m allowed to say because office supplies are quite nearly my favorite thing in the world)!
That said, I should mention I’ve been functioning at work with a completely paperless system for over three years now. I don’t know how I ever managed to keep my stress from killing me when I was organizing a thousand pieces of paper. Now it’s all nice and neat and digital! It keeps me focused, on-task and hyper productive. Not to mention working from home one day a week is a snap. I’ve never worried that I wouldn’t have something to be able to do my work, because I can get to everything from anywhere that has internet access.
Here’s the part where I derail my own rant. While my workplace is a well-oiled machine of efficiency, organization, and productivity, my house is actually kind of a wreck most of the time. I can’t even blame it on the hu’band and the kids. I can be pretty lazy when it comes to keeping our house put-together. I guess that means I’m not a type-A, psycho, clean-freak all the time. Go me!
Still, we’ve only lived in our current house since for six months and I’m constantly getting after my family (and myself) to keep things clutter-free. The linen closet might be my biggest pet-peeve when it comes to staying organized; probably because it seems like it should be the easiest. I added some simple labels to the shelves over the weekend to give the kids some on-going direction, and so far so good!
The next thing I desperately want to do is go-paperless at home. I have an awesome filing system that I’ve managed to maintain for the last few years, but I’d really like it to be digital. Having paper around gives me anxiety now. Like there’s something I’m not doing. Also, my supply closet desperately needs an overhaul. It’s turned into the catch-all and after just six months, it’s completely packed! Maybe I’ll do some before and after shots.
I really like the idea of having room for more without actually wanting to get more. I think I could live in a Tiny House someday, but I don’t think it’s ever too soon to start adopting the Tiny House culture. Embrace empty space. Get rid of the things you don’t need (and don’t buy them in the first place). Fill your life with meaningful activity in the space you create. Fill your mind with peaceful thoughts with the time you save not cleaning and organizing.
Life is cluttered enough. We don’t really need to add more stuff to it.