Right off the bat, I must tell you that this title is a lie. There’s no theory. Only reactivity. Generally, people are either proactive or reactive. As my friends and relatives who could die waiting for a phone call from me will tell you, I’m definitely reactive.
Do you want solid evidence? Here are the highlights of my reactive existence:
I have DVR on my cable system, and we have a DVD player/recorder. Still, I almost always wait until something is shown on regularly scheduled TV rather than record it and watch it at my convenience. The few times we have recorded something I had to miss because of a schedule conflict, I never got around to watching it…ever. I wait until it comes back as a rerun (or now, watch it on On Demand).
I love going out to lunch or dinner with friends, but I rarely (never?) initiate the outing. Call me or email me, and I’m in! But don’t expect a message from me asking “Would you like to meet for lunch next Thursday?”
I never spontaneously come up with an idea for travel. Instead, I react to a specific occasion: a wedding in another city; a conference my husband is attending in an attractive location, where I can amuse myself while he’s in session; a mini-reunion like we attended in Las Vegas last fall; our trip to Wyoming to help my brother-in-law put together his gallery show. I loved these trips, but they were already established events, with specific dates and places. All I had to do was say yay or nay on going.
I’ve never been a trendsetter. I develop a yearning to buy something trendy, but only after it’s been around for a while and mentioned by my coworkers or friends, featured on the Today show, pictured in O magazine, or recommended by my hair stylist. A great example of such a yearning is on my feet as I write this. I started hearing about Tom’s shoes, mainly the canvas espadrille resembling a style that’s been around for years—and that I’ve never bought nor wanted. Then my daughter had them on and said they were soooo comfortable. I tried them on at Nordstrom, and a 9 fit just fine. But they didn’t have the color I wanted in my size. As I was trying on the shoes, another customer walked by and said, “Those are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I walked all over Disney World in them!” Suddenly, I had to have a pair of Tom’s shoes.
I had heard (from my hair stylist) that Whole Foods carries them (I guess they’re organic), and off I went. Now I’m sporting a pair of ash gray (in some lights they look brown) shoes that really are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. And to assuage my guilt over doing what all the other kids are doing, I’m focusing on the fact that Tom’s donates a pair of shoes to a deserving child for every pair we buy.
As I said earlier, there’s no theory, just decades upon decades of reacting. I don’t think it’s worth seeking therapy to find one. So if I don’t contact you and ask you to go to lunch, please don’t think I’m making a statement about your table manners or your lunchtime chatter. I’d love to spend time with you. Just call me.