Being Prepared or Being Paranoid?

I like to be prepared. It is part of my personality.

It means I budget. It means scheduling my day to the minute, like this:


It means that I lay out all my clothes for the coming week on a Sunday, down to underwear and accessories. It means checking bus routes and printing maps two days before an appointment at somewhere unfamiliar. It means packing for a long trip one week in advance. It means extensively researching strategies before I start playing a computer game. It means Armageddon preparations.

Last week, I told Sis to let me be after her nth attempt at convincing I was going overboard with the emergency preparations. So what, I told her, being prepared makes me feel good; it makes me feel in control, and it harms no one.

It does if it is powered by fear, she said. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Wanting to be prepared and in control could just be the first symptoms of a powerful paranoia. Would I always know where to draw the line? It may be a few extra backup disks and a backpack today, but would she one day find me cowering at home, not daring to venture past the front door into the great unknown, because of it?

I paused and thought about it.

And I told her, okay, you can take the M&Ms from my backpack when you get hungry. Just tell me so I can replace them.

She smiled. She knew I had gotten her point.


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