I'm writing along with Sarah & Kim for #reverb15. I'm still catching up because life, but I plan to keep responding as I can. Creature of habit or lover of change? This year were you a creature of habit? Or did you seek change? Or a combination of both?

As a kid who moved every few years, change was part of my life. I didn't mind not staying in one place or not having the same friends since grade school. My reality wasn't better or worse than that, just different. I spent a lot of time at other people's houses, lived summers with relatives, and later, a job where I spent the summer in the Alabama forest working as a camp counselor. Homesickness was foreign to me; being a nomad was its own kind of comfort, not feeling tied to anyone or anything, the knowledge you could always leave. Even in college, I thought the restlessness that would come over me was something everyone felt.

My very nature resists structure while the anxious side of me craves a bit of routine, of doing things by muscle memory, a kind of thoughts switched off, body on type progression. It's why I like working out, to be honest. When I'm pushing myself  to do more physically, my mind can't interrupt me with annoying thoughts and incessant worry.  On one hand, I crave new experiences and on the other I try to have a contingency plan for everything. Sometimes I feel like these facets of me war with one another, and it's exhausting.

I chose "explore" as my word for the year with the intention that I would consciously seek out new experiences. (And tell those anxiety gremlins to shut up). I wanted to invite a sense of adventure, of putting myself out of the familiar, of learning to enjoy the unplanned scenario. I wanted to approach the world with a sense of wonder, to be an explorer every day and take notice of the world around me.

Every month I tried to do something new or say yes to something that would typically scare me or cause me to worry or feel anxious.

Here are a few things I tried:

Zumba, Shockwave and Strength Training classes Tons of new recipes: These Mediterranean Turkey Loaves were a fave Setting an alarm for bedtime (and trying to set a nightly routine) 30/30 challenge (where I did some kind of physical activity for 1 mile a day in May) It was a fantastic experience and really helped to keep me motivated toward fitness. New writing projects Changed up some of my syllabus policies and first day of class routines Asking for advice more frequently New podcasts: Fell in love with Lore and Switched on Pop

I also know that my tendency as a rebel is to resist things I don't want to do, so finding ways to challenge myself while creating new habits in order to stick with it was probably the greatest change of the year. Creating internal motivation is really tough for me and I often have to trick myself in order to do things. I set timers for grading, timers for sitting on the couch, timers for reading, etc. And usually, before the timer went off I was doing whatever needed to be done. Not always, but sometimes.

While much of this year focused on changing habits for me, I do think I tried to stick with some strategies that I knew worked. I know how important comfort is to my psyche and pushing myself out of that zone was problematic at times while other times it was like "yeah, let's do this!" Having "explore" as my word for the year served as a significant motivation for me, and I'm really grateful for the way it helped me frame the year.


#reverb15:what's your type

Working through Sarah & Kim's prompts to catch up on #reverb. What’s your type? Tell us your personality type and/or enneagram type. Does your type resonate with you? What happened this year that clearly (or not clearly) illustrate your personality type?

I've always identified pretty strongly with my personality types, perhaps most strongly with my Aquarius leanings. As an Aquarius, I am creative, highly social, wisdom-seeker, independent, quick to react, observant, absent-minded, not really punctual, and can be detached and distracted. I have high standards in my choice of friends and acquaintances and often expect too much of people. I feel like all of these things are true about me. I can't tell you how many times I look for my wallet, keys, cell phone. Definitely absent-minded, narrowly focused on my world, my big ideas. If I let you inside my circle, I am fiercely and deeply loyal. I can be easily hurt because for all my perceived toughness, I'm a marshmallow.

I'd never taken the Enneagram test before Sarah suggested it. It turns out, according to the test, I'm a Enthusiast (7) with a side of the Challenger(8), which means I seek adventure and don't want to be controlled, often leading to taking on too much responsibility. In relationships, my defenses sometimes run high and emotional vulnerability can be challenging. I'm also future-oriented and a quick thinker.

After reading Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before, which is out in paperback soon and I highly recommend it, I knew that out of the tendencies she talks about, that I was a Rebel. I knew this before, honestly, but to see it in black and white was striking. This is what Rubin says about those with Rebel tendencies: Rebels resist all expectations inner and outer alike. I'm not sure if anything has summed me up more than that sentence. Just ask my mom. Rebels can accomplish big things, though. It's just that we have to do it on our terms and in our own ways. Rebels place a high value on authenticity and self-determination, and bring an unshackled spirit to what they do. Rebels work toward their own goals, in their own way, and while they refuse to do what they’re “supposed” to do, they can accomplish their own aims. (Rubin). I just want to write these sentences on pieces of paper and hand them out to people I meet so they can better understand me. Rebels are frustrating to work with; we're frustrating to ourselves. We make no sense whatsoever to perfectionists, A-type personalities or anyone else but other Rebels. I don't know how responsible my Aquarian nature is for this tendency but it is a strong part of who I am and how I approach the world.

The Myers-Briggs test result: ENFP emphasizes my extroverted nature. I am also Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving. Being Intuitive means I am all about ideas and I appreciate concepts for their own sake; I see the big picture, how everything is connected. As a Feeling personality, I look for the best in people and value harmony and forgiveness. Finally, Perceiving means I find rules are flexible, that I make things up as I go, and enjoy spontaneity.

I am an Extrovert through and through. I love people, making connections, sharing stories, talking. All of these personality types emphasize the social aspect of my personality. I can have introvert tendencies and have to recharge in meditative silence away from people. I do like my alone time, to read or write or watch sports but I can't be in that space for too long before I get restless. M is further extroverted than me and I think really dislikes down time or time alone while I need it in small doses to fuel my social needs.

What I appreciate about personality quizzes is that it makes me feel like less of a weirdo. When I meet other Aquarians, there's an acknowledgement of how we are as people, and understanding takes root in a way that may not otherwise happen. The same is true of these other markers as well. I feel like seeing these laid out like this is a really accurate representation of what remains at my core, and what I sometimes feel the need to fight against so that I'm not an asshole. I don't know that these types explain everything. And they certainly aren't an excuse to say, "well that's just how I am" because I find that living in the world with other people means that sometimes it's important to realize the influence you have on situations, experiences and other people. So just because Aquarians can be cold and distant doesn't mean that's how I want to live my life. I know that tendency is there. I know I can be selfish, but I also know I can be thoughtful, and maybe thoughtfulness isn't second nature to me like it is for M, but the effort can still be made. And it's still worth it every time.

Sometimes I think we could do a better job of articulating our needs, how we see the world, how we operate in relationships and work environments, if we talked more openly about the good and bad things in our personality types. If we were more honest with ourselves about why we say and do some of the things we do, we could connect more deeply without extraneous bullshit. I don't think everyone or every response fits neatly into a personality type; that would be boring. But I do think digging into how you tick makes you a little more aware of yourself, even if that awareness ends with being on the outside of a type or reflecting a combined type. At the very least, I feel like I have a better understanding of why certain things are difficult for me and others aren't.

What's your type(s)? Are they accurate?