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The need for structure

I've been watching a lot of Elementary recently, which is such a fantastic show I don't even know where to begin talking about how fantastic it is. But beyond its fabulousness, something else jumps out at me. In the show, they portray a Sherlock who turned to drugs to deal with the constant overload of his heightened senses, and is in the process of recovering from the addiction. As such, there's a lot of the systems of handling an addiction on display.

It occurs to me that from the way I structure my life, you'd think I was a recovering addict. I live by rigid routines; everything is scheduled and set down in time. I rely on an accountability system to make sure I do the things I need to do. I avoid certain things completely because I have no ability to moderate my use of them.

I am, as follows, morbidly unspontaneous. Jared used to hate that about me, and complained loudly even as he took advantage of my ways for any semblance of structure in his life. I'm not particularly bothered by this fact about myself, I see no INHERENT advantage in personal spontaneity, although I can certainly see how it would be a good thing in particular situations. It encourages roving afield, getting new and unexpected experiences. Which is admittedly something I don't have a lot of in my life. But my way better facilitates my values-- it ensures I have enough time and motivation to do all the things I want to, from keeping up with chores, to have lots of activities happening, to being productive with my art, to getting dinner on the table before I'm too ravenously hungry. Even to seeing friends, when it occurs to my extreme-introvert self to put down a slot for that.

It means, however, that I'm rendered practically useless when something requires acting without a schedule. I get unreasonably thrown when things come up that I haven't planned for, or make it so I can't follow my plan. Even something small, and that I would actively enjoy doing-- an impromptu dinner with friends, say --makes me feel off-balance. Wait, what are we going to cook? I didn't have a chance to clean! I'm not dressed for company. Part of that is worry what people will think if I don't present myself well, and part of it is my need to be in the right headspace for social. Thanks to introvert nature for that last.

I think it's plain I don't moderate well. When it comes to unhealthy things, I have to either completely abstain or overindulge. Apparently that extends to operating with or without my structure. If I don't have it in perfect place, I struggle to do anything. I find am not only socially ill at ease, I am morbidly unproductive. I'm not exaggerating when I say I get nothing done. And being unproductive is probably the state in which I am least comfortable with myself. It's not usually a problem, but I can't, for example, make Bernie live by the same strictures that I impose on myself if that's not what works for him. But because I'm so inclined to all or nothing, it's hard for me to not set them aside entirely when I'm attempting to compromise. And so I end up unproductive.

In recent years I have resolved not to fight the workings of my brain, and instead just optimize for what works best for it. It's really increased my peace of mind. That means that if I do and feel better with rigid scheduling, that's what I do. But it would be nice to be able to cope a little better when I can't have things all my own way. The world is never exactly as we would wish it, and we need to be able to manage even in less than optimal circumstances.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC)
We've just started watching the show as well. A nice take, and the things it exaggerates and the things it downplays, are interesting to observe, especially in contrast to the BBC's Sherlock.

And I live and die by the calendar. I don't think I'm as rigidly so as you are, but next to an email app and a news feed app, it is the most consistently used personal data tool for me.

Moving further out from the city and the people in it, and buying a house, and having a child... all have both reduced the likelihood of spontaneity happening, increased the necessity for scheduling, and amplified the effects of unanticipated occurrences... whether this is a positive or negative set of results I leave as an exercise to the reader...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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