Type-A and NuMe. Part One.

Can a human being survive the transition from Type-A to a relaxed mere mortal? This is the question I asked upon returning from our most excellent and relaxing vacation.

As you may recall, all my life I’ve been a driven, Type-A. I often referred to myself as a “recovering workaholic” and my family would just roll their eyes every time they heard me say it. In the past I’ve refused back-rubs and any form of relaxation, fearing they would change my fine-tuned, high performance torque. I’ve believed if I relaxed, my life’s wheels would fall off and my engine would burn out from too much idling. Every minute was accounted for and long to-do lists were made and dutifully executed each day. People not on the list were generally viewed as interruptions to be avoided or dispatched with quickly. Anybody watching me could tell I was a man with a purpose, my fast-paced stride and demeanor signaled it, “leave me alone I’m a man whose got things to do!”

And then¢â‚¬¦And then I enjoyed vacation with my family in the hot and dry Southwest. As so often happens on a leisurely vacation, my torque released its tension, my engine idled, my to-do lists disappeared. I even took my watch off for two weeks.

I relished long conversations with family, chatted with strangers, spent more time with God than is allocated by Type-A. When I returned home I determined to retain this more humane lifestyle upon returning to my planet of origin. (See Rest. Recreate. Pass It On.)

This is not the first time I’ve made such a pledge, but this time something different happened. First, I bought my wife a hot tub for her birthday. I’ve always hated them because, well, they’re HOT and they exist to relax torqued-up people, something you now understand I believed dangerous to my hyped-up, tight wound composition. After the first time in our new hot tub I felt I could stay relaxed the rest of my days. I was so relaxed, the only image that came to mind was that of a perfectly cooked chicken, where the meat just melts off the bones. I visualized myself waking and stepping out of bed only to discover that I was but a skeleton, my skin and muscles, so relaxed and tender, had fallen off in the night!

I left my watch off. I slept longer. I lingered for leisurely chats with strangers at Starbucks instead of rushing home to read the papers in preparation for the show. So far, the wheels have not fallen off and the engine has not burned out from too much idling. I’ve gotten my work done everyday.

At the Staub house we’ve come to refer to the characters in this drama as “Type-A and NuMe.” Type-A is the old pattern of living and NuMe is the “new me.”

Based on pervious experience, I fear NuMe will revert to Type-A. Last week I had an experience that illustrates the impending battle. To understand the story (taken from my personal journal) you need to understand a few key words. KGNW is the radio station where I do the afternoon drive show. CT is Christianity Today. They carry one of my interviews each week and had specifically requested an interview with Lauren Winner, author of “Girls Meets God.” CSC is the new book I’m working on (The Culturally Savvy Christian). It would also help to know that Type-A would typically go to bed at midnight and get up no later than 6AM. NuMe likes 8 hours of sleep! What follows is a conversation that took place in my head¢â‚¬¦in bed when Type-A wanted to get going and NuMe wanted to get more sleep.

[Type-A and NuMe are locked in fierce battle¢â‚¬¦well, type-A is fierce and NuMe is some combination of lethargic and complacent non-compliance. Type-A tried to get back on track today, launching an offensive by setting the alarm at 6:15 after going to bed at 11:30 PM. Type-A argued that NuMe needed to finish reading Lauren Winner’s book (Girl Meets God) for the 2:30 interview today, AND needs to finish Experiencing God for tonight’s family meeting, AND needs to write in CSC.

6:15 rolled around and Type-A was ready to leap out of bed with that good-old-fashioned gusto, but NuMe wanted more sleep. “Lauren Winner,” cried Type-A. “Forget it” retorted NuMe. “CT wants a probing interview of WINNER.” “Forget CT,” responded NuMe, (actually NuMe used some language heretofore not allowed by type-A’s well-managed, rigid language patrol).

NuMe rolled over and slept some more, Type-A fitfully spit out warnings about all the bad things that would happen if NuMe didn’t get back on track. “Planets will stop rotating, orbits will be disrupted, a new Ice Age will ensue, CT will cancel their contract, KGNW will cancel the show,” ranted Type-A. NuMe dreamt of an incredible-hulk-like creature morphing out of NuMe’s stilled, sleeping body screaming maniacally, ¢â‚¬ËœI’m mad as Hell and I won’t put up with it anymore.”

NuMe got up at 7:15. Took a shower and contemplated worse case scenarios and none seemed all that threatening.

All NuMe wanted to do was write down a few thoughts about Type-A’s slow, agonizing death and how hard it is to watch, and how NuMe hopes Type-A really dies this time, because if he doesn’t, he’ll kill NuMe anyway.]

So what does any of this have to do with being a Culturally Savvy Christian? Our culture celebrates high-achieving Type-A’s. So does the Christian sub-culture where most ministries are led by Type-A’s.

The only problem is that it is not a healthy, human lifestyle, and based on his example and teaching, I don’t think Jesus was a Type-A.

A week later one of the sentences from my journal haunts me. “NuMe hopes Type-A really dies this time, because if he doesn’t, he’ll kill NuMe anyway.”

I don’t know where this story ends because I am in the midst of it, but I sense something different is “in the air.” I really do hope Type-A is dying, because I sort-of like NuMe, although he is so different from Type-A. I’m still adjusting to him. I have no idea how NuMe can sustain the career pressures Type-A has always accepted. So many unknowns, but I know who holds the future.

Your friend, NuMe.

If you want to communicate with NuMe his e-mail is dsjr@dickstaub.com.

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