I wish I was impulsive. I used to be more impulsive than I am today. Actually, I’m the complete opposite of impulsive. I have a routine and stick to it with minutious detail. Every day in precisely the same order, my husband and I do the same things. Healthy or unhealthy ones, we adhere to the practices. All our days are the same and have been such long before Covid and lockdowns. How did this come to be? Has it always been like this? Are there maybe reasons why I enjoy following such strict routines?
When growing up, my life wasn’t as rigid as it is now. My father was a nurse, so he always worked irregular times. Of course, school was regular, but we still had to adapt to my father’s working hours.
In my teenage years, while living with my father and brother, life was definitely irregular. My home life wasn’t strict anymore, and high school life is, by definition irregular. I would often hang out with friends and spend the night at their place. We would do these things at a whim. I’ve staid at my friends’ family members, or we would go shopping in Amsterdam when we felt like it. I even went to France together with a friend and her family, with little preparation at all.
They were fun times, but I wasn’t always safe. Some life-events wouldn’t have happened in a better-supervised situation. I do mean to show I wasn’t always as stuck up as I am now.
The First Onset
My first long term relationship was with a very impulsive man. He lived for new and dangerous activities. Having sex with me, someone of barely legal age, fit in perfectly with this. His irregular lifestyle was horrendous to me. For weeks or even months at a time, I wouldn’t be able to reach him.
My relationship with him led me to my next extremely stable boyfriend and my now husband.
My husband is stable and dependable. I know where he is. He will never dash away to party at an unknown location.
Safe and Controlled
I love this stability. It instils a fake sense of control. Looking back, I think this kind of routine is what made me stay at my last job in the supermarket for so long. Even though I worked irregular hours, inside the store itself, everything adhered to a tight regime. I couldn’t deviate from it with even fifteen minutes.
I am so strict with my routines and schedules that I wonder if I have some autistic features even. This is fully self-diagnosed, and it never showed when I was tested by mental healthcare professionals. But people change, and autism in females isn’t well recognised.
It’s not very severe. I just hate change. My husband sort of jokingly mentioned it. He asked on a random day: what if we decided to go to our friend’s house right now, how upset would you be? I had to agree, I would have been upset. Or like last week, he proposed doing our daily walk in the afternoon instead of during the evening. I refused because I had made plans for that afternoon.
I make an outline of the day mentally, or in the Reminders app, and I hate my plans to be changed.
Okay, strict and structured, so life surely must be perfect? Nope. It’s very easy to distract me. I’ll get an e-mail from a company who want to work with me, and I’ll happily throw everything out of the window and devote an entire day to this new venue, whether it’s viable or not. I’ll spend at least two hours researching this new plan. All my other tasks will have to wait.
This impulsive part of me, I hate. Because nine out of ten times, it leads to nothing but wasted time.
At other times I feel suffocated by our routine and long for new experiences, especially this last year during the lockdowns. It’s a constant battle between my need for structure and stability and my need for adventure and new experiences.
Fun and Excitement
I hope to add some more excitement to my life in the future, after Covid. But looking at the life my mother led and my mother in law’s life now, I have little hope.
I hope our poly lifestyle will come to fruition one day and I’ll have some adventures that way. Or we can finally visit our first play party. But that’s all far away.
For now, I’ll stick to my schedule. I just poured my second tea of the day, the same as yesterday. After that tea, it’s time for lunch, just like it was yesterday and will be tomorrow.
I don’t have as strict a routine as you have every day, with things on the same time, but one thing I could have write is every word under your heading ‘Autistic’. I am exactly the same and many times wondered whether there might be autism in me. With both my son and grandson diagnosed with autism, I wouldn’t be surprised.
~ Marie xox
Unfortunately my routine is based on sequence and not on time. Otherwise I would never have lunch at 4 PM like it now happens sometimes.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have some autistic features. According to my husband’s boss, all IT employees are autistic in some sense. It makes you excel at repetitive tasks.
I think being Poly must be a little – not impulsive but letting the unknown into your world – and you cope with that well. Maybe you have to put a structure around that too? Interesting what u say about the autism – i think many people are mildly that way.
Interesting post Liz
I would say your impulsivity isn’t gone, merely hidden behind routine. Stricture brings stability to our lives, but I think you know that you still have the ability to take over and act on impulse when it’s needed . Like when your poly adventures come to fruition 🙂
I am very much a “I need a plan and to know the plan” but can easily say “screw it” . Maybe it is a matter of being easily distracted, or maybe it’s the desire for adventure!
In some ways, it’s easy to lure me away with a new working project or with a chance to play a video game ? And for those reasons it’s very easy for me to say ‘screw it’, or, ‘it can wait till tomorrow ?
Impulsiveness is good when it gives quick positive results. But this is a rare case. In all other situations, this is just confusion and problems.
Yes, you’re absolutely right. I too have impulsive ideas now and then, but they usually amount to very little other than a waste of time.
Your life experience, among other things, confirms that communicating with impulsive people is not an easy task and it is better to try to avoid it.
Sometimes that’s certainly the case, yes, but on other times it can be enlightening and lead you to different insights 🙂