MIDLIFE MUSINGS: “All I can do is be me, whoever that is” – Bob Dylan

November 2016

I may have mentioned a few times that one of my more infuriating qualities – if only to myself – is procrastination, and the reason I thought I’d mention this at the top is because I have just noticed that I have less than an hour to write my column before I head off to work in my new job.

But that’s ok, procrastination sits snugly within the basket of traits that make up my Jen-ness, alongside comfort eating, enjoying (a little too much, it could be argued) the Californication box sets I recently found on the telly, and quoting Bob Dylan (see below) not because it’s particularly relevant but because he’s just won the Nobel Prize for Literature and I think he’s very cool. I also have a tendency to take on new projects in an “oh look, there’s a squirrel!” kind of way (no, that wasn’t a Dylan quote), conveniently overlooking the fact that I have plenty of unfinished projects on the go already. I also hate saying no, for fear of letting people down, and am indecisive because I’m in a long-running mental dilemma over what I want vis-à-vis what’s best for everyone else.

These endearing/irritating, traits were brought to my attention recently by way of a personality profiling workshop. Having taken a tentative step in a different direction career-wise, I thought it would be fun to see if I am in fact suited to it. The workshop, run by Hazel Wright of Clarity4D, was organised through Pop Connect. The method used is along the same lines as other profilers in that it’s broadly based on the introvert–extrovert and thinking–feeling spectrums, but rather than identifying as one specific type you are given a range of ‘colours’ in varying degrees. “Whatever colors you have in your mind, I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine”, as Dylan sang.

Green (introverted–feeling), is easy-going and nurturing. Greens like to ‘check in’, to ask how you are, possibly with their heads tilted slightly to one side. They do sympathetic nods, and most likely will have just made you a cake. Yellows (extroverted–feeling) are really enthusiastic! because everything’s brilliant!, except when it’s amazing! and there’s always Prosecco in their fridge. Blues (introverted–thinking) are to be found writing lists and inventing time machines, and may forget to talk to you, and they will notice when IKEA don’t provide the correct number of knöbskrews. They are your go-to people for when the computer goes funny. Reds (extroverted–thinking) are busy running several countries at once and being magnetic and hilarious, and more than a little sexy and terrifying in equal measure.

What’s interesting about the Clarity4D method is that it’s fluid (which is like, so right-on these days). Not only can you be a combination of varying degrees of colours, but this itself can vary according to which way the wind is blowin’. You can be red hot at work but then make a delicious Sunday roast and cuddle up with the family wearing a green woolly hat and yoga pants. Or you can rein in your shiny and chaotic yellowness when you’re, say, a surgeon because you need to be serious, conscientious and methodical (blue), and ideally not drinking Prosecco. I’m mainly green and yellow but will quite comfortably pop on my blue hat for work, and very occasionally dare to be just the tiniest bit red. “I’m inconsistent, even to myself”, says Dylan. Although it’s tempting to identify as one particular personality type, we each have a peculiar combination of characteristics which are always a-changin’. Furthermore, we can, once we’ve worked out which version of us we want to be today, embellish the desirable ones and disown the disagreeable ones; hire or fire accordingly. As Dylan put it, “Be groovy or leave, man”.

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