I have always tended to follow my instincts much more than my noggin. What feels right seems to overwhelmingly usurp carefully weighed decisions, or even some things most people would see as common sense. Take homeschooling for instance. Many, many things contributed to that decision, most of them stemming from feelings rather than facts. Feelings.
Like watching my 5-year-old baby child have to wake up when it’s still dark outside to go to a huge building full of people neither he nor I know. To do what? What was he doing there that I couldn’t provide him with? Now, even when other parents feel all these things, their “common sense” usually provides a nice sized buffer between feeling and doing. My brain didn’t do that. In my head, I thought, “Okay, I don’t like this. So, I’m not going to do it anymore.” Full stop. Pretty simple, really.
Same thing happened when my husband got orders to Korea….well, really, both times. It wasn’t a duty station families are supposed to accompany the soldier on. Army didn’t pay for it. Back then, in the area of the country we lived in, there were no facilities for family members, no schools, hospital was 2 hours away, no housing, nuttin.
In this situation, 99% of families stay in the states for the entire length of that tour. Well, I thought that was pretty dumb. I didn’t want to miss out on living there. That would have sucked, right? So, I moved to Korea. It made total sense. Both times. Yes, we paid to fly, lived in typical Korean houses, and rode 2 hours to the hospital. For a year. Twice. One of the best fucking decisions I ever made.
Most of my decisions have gone something like that. And with very few exceptions, most of those decisions turned out to be the right ones, or at least really fucking fun.
And I’ve heard the phrase, “Oh my god! You mean you actually DID IT?!” more times than I can count.
This is not to say I am impulsive. I’m really not. At least, not in the way most people define it. I weigh pros and cons. I evaluate how they will affect other people. I’m certainly a planner. I’m smart about what I do. I didn’t take my kids out of school without a plan. I didn’t move across the world without a plan.
But most of the wacky decisions I make are to questions most people wouldn’t ever even consider. Jumping out of a plane. Sticking holes in my face. Running off to another country at 17. Shunning institutionalized schooling. I could go on and on.
Hmm. This looks fun, I think I’ll go over here. Oh yeah, that is totally what I want to do. I’m gonna do it. What’s that you say? I can’t? Well, I’ll fucking figure that shit out. Watch me.
So what’s my problem? Does my brain not work right? I’m sure some people would call it a raging case of immaturity. I’ve heard a lot of people say that I am brave. No. Brave would be making the opposite decision your instincts tell you to make.
Brave would be silencing that inner voice in favor of making what you would consider the “smart” decision. Isn’t that true? I don’t know. I’m certainly not saying anyone should jerk their kids out of school and move halfway across the globe. But I know everyone has equivalent decisions, the same kind of crossroads, should I’s and shouldn’t Is.
Here’s what I do know. You only have one chance. One chance to not necessarily do it “right,” or do it “safe,” but do it AWESOME. Full tilt. Fuck the masses. Go all the fucking way. There are no mulligans. You don’t get a do-over.
When you come to the end of your days, you’re either going to take that last breath with a smile on your face, or struggle to take it while suffocating in a room crammed full of mediocrity. And when you only have one chance, mediocrity is not an option. Unless, of course, you like mediocrity. In which case, bring your oxygen mask.