Over the course of my (admittedly short) life, I’ve had multiple people comment on my planning skills. “You’re such a planner, Alex,” or “wow, you really think of everything, don’t you?” And they’re right—I do plan things out, maybe a little too thoroughly. But that’s just how I cope with things.
See, I get anxiety sometimes. When I’m around a lot of people, when I’m around new people I want to make a good impression on, when people are watching me, when I’m put into an unfamiliar situation, etc…. I get anxious. And I’m working on it, I swear, but one of the ways I deal with my anxiety is by planning things out. For instance, I’m going on a school trip to Greece next year, and that kind of scares me because a) the last time I’ve been on an airplane was when I was five and all I remember of it was eating applesauce (?), b) I’ve never been out of continental North America, c) Greece is literally on the other side of the world and d) I won’t have my parents with me to help if I screw something up. So I created a board on Pinterest for this trip. The board has everything from how to pack a carry-on bag for an international flight to how to thwart pickpockets to little things like how much water to drink to fight jetlag.
I know it’s a bit much, but here’s the thing: knowing these kinds of things helps me because most of my panic comes from not knowing what to do or the chance that I’ll screw up. Knowing how to make a ten-hour economy flight bearable takes the stress out because I’ll know what to do, and knowing that the ‘stop’ hand signal is rude in Greece means I won’t accidentally use it and offend someone.
And hopefully someday I won’t have to plan everything out to get rid of my anxiety, but for now, I’ll plan.