Sometime last year I was asked a question I didn’t know the answer to: what is your Myers-Briggs personality type? And being the young scholar that I am, I decided that I needed to find out so that I could properly answer the question. After doing a little bit of research and taking a few versions of this test, the results seemed rather clear. I was an INTJ, which stood for Introverted, Intuition, Thinking, Judging. For all I knew that could mean anything, so I did some more research (I’m sensing a pattern here).
After reading a few articles I felt secure enough in my newfound knowledge to give the answer to the original question. For the sake of time I don’t plan on expanding on every detail of my personality type in this post, but I do want to focus on one particular element that stood out to me: INTJ’s are apparently some of the most future-orieneted of all 16 types on the Myers-Briggs scale. There were a few parts of the classic INTJ that I didn’t necessarily identify with, but this wasn’t one of them. I had a ten-year plan by time I was in pre-school and was planning college applications before I’d even started middle school. I’m always looking ahead, especially when it concerns my own future.
Now there is nothing wrong with having goals. We all have them. I think it’s healthy to have an idea of what we want and who we want to be. But if I’ve learned anything in my last few years at university, it’s that our plans don’t always go as we intend them to. When I was 17 I was more than sure that I was going to get my degree in journalism and go on to write for the New York Times or some other major media company. To give you an idea of how well that worked out, let me just say that I’m set to graduate in December and I’ve only taken one journalism course over the last three years.
So am I saying that we should stop making plans and just hope for the best? Well, not exactly. Again, planning for the future is a good thing. But I think that there is something to be said about – pardon the cliche – living in the moment. I love planning things. I love planning out my entire day down to the minute. I love thinking about where I might be in five years. But sometimes I get a glimpse of what is happening right in front of me, and I remember that I can’t keep fixating on what hasn’t happened yet.
I realized this again this afternoon when I was having family dinner at my grandparents house. Here we all were, sitting around the living room, talking and laughing. My brother had taken my seat when I moved across the room for a moment, so I decided to be funny and sit on his lap for revenge. He just laughed and gave me a hug. This turned into an opportunity for selfies, which then resulted in more laughing as bunny-ears were thrown and slightly less-than-normal faces were made at the camera. Between the banter and giggles, I stopped for a moment to look around. One of my cousins was sitting on one side of me, my mom on the other. Grandpa was picking on our youngest cousin. Grandma was talking to my aunt and uncle at the kitchen table. It was simple, but it made me smile. It reminded me that these small moments are what matter. The future matters, too. But it can wait just a little longer.