Just in Case or Just in Time?

I actually had time to catch up on some of my reading this weekend (gasp!) – we had a lengthy car ride, so I literally couldn’t work. Hidden in my O, the Oprah Magazine, I came across an article that really got me thinking. It was written by Martha Beck, an author and a life coach.

This article asked the question, are you a just in case (JIC) type of person or a just in time (JIT) type of person? A JIC person is someone who lives their life thinking everything is in scarce supply – meaning food, material goods, love, friendship and money. Their mentality is to stock up on everything just in case. On the flip side, JIT people have the mindset that things will work out. No matter what happens, they aren’t going to starve to death, the world will not run out of toilet paper, shoes (in my case), clothes or people to love. As I read her article, I knew without a doubt that I am a JIC type of person and that I absolutely, 100% want to become a JIT type of person.

The article illustrates that JIC people tend to be overweight because they literally horde food and stuff themselves every chance they get. Where a JIT person eats until they are full and don’t feel the need to stock up on food because, well because let’s face it, most people are not going to run out of food. They just don’t worry about not being able to find something to eat. JIT people overall lead less stressful lives, just by trusting that things are going to be okay.

In thinking about the way I live my life, I realized that I stock up on things whenever I get the chance. Our house is constantly cluttered. No matter how many times I clean out my closets, I continue to hold onto things just in case. Our dining room table is covered with paperwork, coupons and catalogs that we hold onto just in case (and then most of the time, we forget to actually use them). I also realized, that a lot of times I try really hard to make people like me, even if they would probably like me anyway if I were just myself and didn’t go over the top trying to get their approval. The same applies to our finances and work. At work I stress myself out taking on way more than I can handle just in case there comes a point when there is absolutely no paying job available in the whole world to me. My husband and I have saved money, horded our money for years just in case, but in the meantime I can’t even tell you the last time we actually took a vacation. Yep, I am definitely a JIC person.

But I want to change. I want to be able to trust myself and my resources and have the confidence that things will happen as they are suppose to and everything will happen just in time. I think that mind set could be extremely freeing. After all, as a freelance writer don’t we all have to take that leap of faith? Don’t we have to remind ourselves all the time that things will work out and happen just in time? That very faith is what makes it possible for me to even think about leaving my full time job – I’m not talking about luck, I’m talking about hard work and the confidence that it will work out, and if it doesn’t, it’s not going to kill me, it will just make me explore other ways to make it work.

To change my mind set, I am going to stop running out to stock up on shoes, clothes, purses, makeup and hair products. I am going to stop saving every single coupon that comes in the mail that I insist on saving whether or not I actually use the product. I am going to clean out my closets and really get rid of clothes that I have had since high school. I mean, really, what is the point in saving them? I’m always going to be able to put clothes on my back. I’m going to stop trying so hard to make people like me, and trust that they will anyway because of who I am. And ultimately, I am going to leave my full time job that is slowly draining me. I’m going to have faith and confidence that I am talented, hard working and things will happen for me just in time. You know what? I might even take a vacation this year and pack lightly because wherever I go – I’m sure they will have shampoo and Advil just in case I run out, and even if they don’t it won’t kill me to go without.

I’m going to follow Martha Beck’s advice and think about times that I ran out of something but I survived. I’m going to think about things that I have too much of. And lastly, I’m going to start a list of the great things that have entered my life at just the right time.


One thought on “Just in Case or Just in Time?

  1. I love this. I definitely used to be a JIC person — I would stock up on all kinds of things and was always afraid of running out. My big weakness was hair and body products. I can’t even tell you how many different bottles of body lotion I used to have. And I would always take the little bottles of shampoo whenever I stayed at a hotel … “just in case” I needed then. Then I read once that this sort of behavior indicates that we don’t trust the universe to provide for us. I do yoga, and one of yoga’s “codes of confuct” is to be content with what we have and to trust that the universe will provide for our needs. Now I have decided I can’t buy any more products until I use up what I have. It is kind of freeing to get rid of stuff that you don’t need that is just taking up space! Good luck with your transition. And if you haven’t tried yoga, you might enjoy the spirtual components of it. It has really helped me to be content with where I am in life and to live in the present moment. : )

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