Being Impulsive

I’ve decided recently I need to be more impulsive. It’s the exact opposite of what parents spend their lives trying to teach their children. When I was eight years old, I stuck a pair of tweezers in a light socket…impulsively, since at eight, I was really “old enough to know better.” When my mom asked, “What were you thinking?” I did my characteristic shrug and “uh uh,” (which is eight year old for “I don’t know.”) But I actually had a better answer than that – the same one I thought every time one of my parents asked exasperatedly, “What were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t.”
It was the honest truth. I wasn’t thinking at all. If I’d been thinking, I wouldn’t have stuck the tweezers in the socket, but all that went through my brain was, “they fit so nice.” I circumvented the higher functions of my brain and stuck ’em in.
Okay, so as a kid, learning to be not so impulsive has a survival advantage. Let’s fast forward a few decades. In my thirties, with young children, I took impulse control to new heights.
Want to go back to sleep? Nope.
Want to sit down and rest? Not a chance.
Want to eat a whole meal without being interrupted or sharing it? Never gonna happen.  
As a parent, I found doing what I wanted when I wanted to do it impossible, so much so that I forgot how. Recently, I realized I never do what I want to do, unless there is a good practical reason. But what if there is just not a reason NOT to do it?
Take a bath in the middle of the day? Sure!
Lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling for thirty minutes? Why not?
Stay up past my bedtime to write a post on being impulsive because I was inspired by the Jenny Lawson book I was reading? Great idea!
Jenny does impulsive things like dead raccoon rodeos at two AM, but I have my own slightly more subdued version of impulsive acts.
It’s just that, as adults, we don’t do those things. We don’t do cartwheels in the sand just because we have the sudden urge. We don’t walk barefoot through the wet St. Augustine, because shoes are overrated. We don’t just sit and stare and let our thoughts meander where they will. Try it. Sit in a chair in your living room and just space out for a while. See how long it takes someone in your household to ask you what’s wrong. Just sitting and spacing out is something I used to do as a kid (especially in high school chemistry class) a lot, and I’m rediscovering it. It’s pretty cool.
So there you have it: my argument for impulsive behavior – it doesn’t have to be a good idea, it just has to be not a really bad idea. Because “not bad” can sometimes make you really happy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s