Friday, August 7, 2015

Thinking Before Doing is a Complex Life Skill

When my husband and I met, we started dating immediately.  We lived five hours apart.

After a month of dating – or, in other words, seeing him three times total – I asked him if he wanted to go with me to Europe in six months.  He said “okay.”  We went to Europe.

We wanted a dog.  We got the first one we looked at.  She was sick and puny and full of worms.

Pretty much every piece of furniture that we have was purchased or acquired on impulse.  Sure, we’ll take that bedroom suite that nobody wants.  We’ll take that one, too.  I’ve gone into the discount store for toilet cleaner and sandwich bags and came out lugging an end table.

Two years ago we decided to pave a good portion of our small backyard for a basketball court.

There are hundreds of wine corks hot-glued to our dining room wall.  I don’t know if I’ll have to repair the wall when they come down.

My answer to every question of “Do you want to go to…?” is YES.

I wouldn’t say that I am a risk-taker exactly, but impulsiveness is definitely a trait I claim.  I regard every pack of gum in the checkout line as a necessity, at least for a moment.

My impulsiveness is not out of control, I think – just like an addict would.  I can research, think things through, deliberate.  I have done these things, am quite good at these things.  But in certain matters, what’s the point?  More times than not, I feel good about an impulse, and there’s no use in going through the motions of deliberating, especially if I’m not hurting anyone emotionally, physically, or financially.  What’s the use in overthinking things?  I’m not buying a Corvette to replace my minivan.  I stay well within the lines of what’s appropriate and practical for average people.  I own only one white sequined party dress.

The problem with impulsiveness is that it seeps into every area of life – the ones that can hurt people if you’re not careful.  I have a snap temper, saying harsher things than I should at times, and like to appear witty and irreverent, a quick-on-the-draw word vomiter who says inappropriate things to people I don’t know well, who don’t know and love me yet.  Yet.

I do the same among people who do know and love me.  They roll their eyes, say “that’s enough,” and change the subject quickly – quickly! – when I go off.  They save me from myself.  I am indebted to them. 

Impulsivity does not always have a brake pedal.  I realize my character flaw almost before I reveal it, and I reach for it just as I let it fly into the faces of those around me.  Sometimes I can charm my way out of it, but not always.  And I don’t often feel charming.  Lucky for me, my impulsiveness came packaged with a large dose of humility.  I’m a professional apologizer; words said without thinking are definitely bitter-tasting.

I like to think that I am taming this part of myself, that I leave the impulsivity for harmless behavior and life-enriching things that I feel good about trying.

Like winging off to Europe with my future husband, or owning a white sequined party dress. 

I highly encourage both of these things.


This post inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop

Prompt #3: Write a blog post inspired by the word: impulsive.


  1. I am very impulsive at times about certain things as well.
    My blog has probably 45 blog posts that can attest to that.
    As can the trampoline in my backyard.

    1. At least you can get rid of a trampoline. A basketball court is hard to put out at the curb with the trash when you're done with it. :/

  2. I want to see that sequinned dress.