I want to start off by saying that I am EXTREMELY organized. When I can't sleep, I make excel spreadsheet schedules. I made myself a daily, weekly, and monthly chore chart. And, I have my entire day, five days a week (because even God had a day of rest) planned out by the hour. I am calm when I know exactly what is happening at what time, and I can't remember the last time I was late for an event.
Then, I traveled to Ireland for two months and started a wonderful internship! And there is no schedule. No hurry for any task; even public transportation is late. I was in for a major life adjustment. The country is amazing, and I am loving every minute of it, but not knowing what I'm doing or where I'm going for the next seven days is taking its toll on my stress levels. I get my schedule for the week about a day before the week starts. It could also change four times before Saturday. When I figured out this is how things work here, I really worried that I wouldn't adjust and that my non-schedule anxiety would cause a breakdown. But, I got used to it, actually. Now, I don't freak out when what I thought I was doing five minutes ago gets thrown out the window and I am hurled into a new work project an hour before it needs to be completed. I worry less about the near future when I'm at work, and it has done so much good for my soul.
I had heard and read about Ireland running at a slightly slower pace than the rest of the world, and it is every bit true. While I'm not stressing about the lack of a set and predictable schedule, I am still not quite used to the slower pace. A fifteen minute wait for a check in a restaurant is not a big deal at all. A ten minute wait for a water isn't a big deal. A four day wait for a response to an email isn't a big deal, either. Coming from a country that runs on caffeine and pure haste, it is a massive trial on my mindset. I'm too impatient anyway, but I have to learn to slow down. And, slowly, I think I am.
There is a definite stress period in learning to let go of a rigid planning regime, and while I don't have a complete handle on it yet, I am getting there. So, if you ever feel anxious about disorder, stressed about lack of fast pace, and helpless in the face of chaos, take a deep breath and schedule it out in your own head. Sometimes it helps to think through all the possible options when things are so disorganized you can't make a plan and think about your own plan for each fork in the road. It's a complicated web to weave, but every spider makes silk in the end (Get it? The end.) Know that sometimes, letting go can be the best remedy. It seems scary and nerve-wracking and down right horrifying, but when mastered, it can bring a special sort of calamity to the mind. And if I can find that place, even though Ireland's insane beauty made it easy, you can too. So go forth and explore the carefree world ahead of you!