Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sunrise, Sunset

by Robison Wells

Today is my birthday. I'm mentioning this at the beginning so that I can come back to it later, but rest assured: I will come back to it.

A year or so ago I took the Meyers-Briggs personality test. I've taken many personality tests in my life, though I don't really know why. I know what I'm like – why do I need a test to remind me? (And, when the test is accurate, why am I surprised? I mark the answers indicating I'm disorganized and lazy, and it returns the results: "You're disorganized and lazy." And rather than realize that I just told the test those things, I marvel at its precision. It's like speaking to a paper prophet, says I.)

Anyway, the tests I've taken are myriad, and the results are all over the chart. I took a big set of tests back when I was just beginning at the community college, wondering what career path I should pursue. The answer? Either chemical engineering or Catholic priesting. (I'm not sure how the test was designed, but every single Returned Missionary I knew was told that joining the ranks of the paid clergy was a good idea.)

I recently took The Color Code test, on the recommendation of Candace Salima, who recently taught a writing class on using the code to better develop your fictional characters. That test told me that I'm very very white (I must have marked the Can't Jump box), that I'm a little red and blue, and a teensy tiny bit yellow. (And, whereas in the real world being yellow is negative (you're a coward), in The Color Code yellow means you like to party all the time. Call me a stick-in-the-mud, I guess.)

Anyway, the Meyers-Briggs test told me that I'm an INTP (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving). Of this personality, it is said: "INTPs are pensive, analytical folks. They may venture so deeply into thought as to seem detached, and often actually are oblivious to the world around them." Kinda sweet, eh? I'm not introverted because I don't like to party – I'm introverted because I venture so deeply into thought.

However, the description continues: "A major concern for INTPs is the haunting sense of impending failure." And this, my friends, is where my birthday comes in to the picture.

The thing is, I'm getting old. Time continues to fly by at a break-neck pace, and I wake up some mornings, look around me, and say "Wait – it's 2006? Wasn't it 1999, like, three days ago?" And ultimately, my problem is that I just can't keep up. I look at my job, and I look at my book-writing career, and I look at all the little things I want to do in my life (like paint pretty pictures or travel the world), and I just can't imagine it happening. Because I'm getting old, and must soon pass on. I have one foot in the grave.

It's not like I'm failing currently. I write books, and they get published, and people buy them. But will I ever be the next Jack Weyland? The LDS Dan Brown? Will I ever visit Tblisi, or climb the steps of Angkor Wat? Will my oil paintings ever get third place in the state fair? The haunting sense of impending failure, my friends. I'll give it a week before my life comes crashing down like a house of cards.

So as the sands of time trickle through the hourglass of cliché, I watch another birthday come and go. My hair is turning gray. My knees crack when I stand up. And this summer is my ten-year high school reunion. I'm twenty-eight. I might as well be dead.


At 4/04/2006 11:52 AM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Now certainly, there are people who will read this blog and mock my pain. “Welcome to the club,” they’ll say, in that smugly annoying tone they use. (You know how they are.) Well frankly, if that’s what you’re going to say, don’t even think of touching the comment link. Because you know what? You’re really old. Way older than me. And while you may get some modicum of satisfaction in that I’m joining the club (which isn’t all that exclusive to begin with), I get more satisfaction from knowing that you’re older than me, and you’ll be dead soon.

Happy Birthday!

At 4/04/2006 11:58 AM, Anonymous Fellfrosch said...

Whine whine whine. I don't buy the misanthrope act anymore--you need something new.

At 4/04/2006 12:00 PM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

Wow! Feeling a little bitter are we? Seriously, Happy Birthday, Robison. 28 huh? Wow, you better go pick up some geritol, a cane and get fitted for those dentures. Whew - I don't know if I can associate with people as old as you!

Yeah, I'm the Candace Salima with the Color Code characterization (that "z" looks weird) thingmabob. And I'm 43 and lovin' it. Oh yeah, and I'm red, red, red. But in a good way. Really.

At 4/04/2006 12:09 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Happy Birthday, Rob! Next Tuesday it will be my birthday and I'll be...31. Got any extra dentures? ;)

I'm purple on that color test. I'm a dead even mixture of red and blue. I think the red is the real me and the blue is all from my mother. She made me all empathetic and stuff.

At 4/04/2006 12:15 PM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

Hey, a fellow purple. Hi Sariah! I'm more red than blue - but I'm some distant shade of purple.

At 4/04/2006 12:22 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Fellfrosch, perhaps the misanthropy is not an act?

At 4/04/2006 2:14 PM, Blogger momofnine said...

I am the mother of the "purple Sariah" and I remember being 28. I had 4 children and was expecting my 5th and yeah I felt so old. Now that I am old enough to have a 31 year old daughter, I wish I felt as old as 28.

The moments rush by so quickly and even when you have fulfilled your dreams you wonder if you shouldn't have dreamed bigger so you could have accomplished more.

I tell people if I could do it over I would laugh more and worry less.

Have a great birthday and remember to laugh and not sweat the small stuff; most of it you don't have control of anyway.

At 4/04/2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Whites unite! Being white is awesome, it means that everyone likes you and gets along with you. You may not be the partier, but you definitely have friends that like you for you and not for your party ability.

And 28 is old. Sorry, but I still have a few years before I reach that hill.

And if you have a haunting sense of impending failure, better to keep expectations low, so when you succeed, it is totally awesome. That is what my whole semester has been about this year.

At 4/04/2006 3:08 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Elizabeth, you are such a racist.

At 4/04/2006 10:57 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Ha ha ha...I didn't even catch that. And I prefer colorist.

At 4/05/2006 12:18 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

If you would come to me to know your true color (green, by the way) you might not feel so depressed. But I remember the way you looked 28 years ago - a darling little baby with a golden-red glowing halo of tiny baby hair!


Post a Comment

<< Home