4/20/2011

On being impulsive

In my driveway is a used sport utility vehicle that I just purchased. I am not sure how this came to be, but I feel pretty good about it. And, I want to continue feeling good about it.

Or at least, I want to feel pretty good about it, because I will be spending more money to own this car. This purchase may not have been the most fuel efficient option and perhaps I should have done more due diligence.

I could easily pick this decision apart and find many ways to be mad at myself. I am sure over the coming days I will hear from people that this was not a good thing to do. They will try to make me feel bad.

But, I have made the decision, and I will live with it. In the short term, I solved many problems, and that was my goal. I could afford it and I can afford it.

Now I have a choice.

I could decide to concentrate on the long-term and write out many reasons why this purchase was not advised, and that will make me feel bad. I could try to find ways to prove the naysayers wrong.

Or I could trust myself, and take comfort in this impulsive decision. Having this new vehicle will resonate throughout my life over the next few months. I will enjoy having FM radio again, as well as a working tape deck. I also remove something from my life that reminds me of my second divorce.

This purchase is a reward for a lot of hard work, and an investment in myself. I will have to balance my money more to make sure I have the additional money to cover this, and I welcome the challenge.

I've always been impulsive and resistant to long-term planning. I have long-term goals I've shot for, but have largely lived my life spontaneously. When I was 20, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. Nearing 38, I am a newspaper reporter, but I'm also so much more. And, it's delicious.

I am here in this contemporary now because an impulsive decision I made back in 1992. I was in my second year at Virginia Tech, There was an activity fair at Cassell Coliseum and I didn't even really want to go. I had enough going on, with a full schedule and 12-hour a week job at the dining hall.

But, I met some folks from the Preston Journal, a weekly tabloid paper that came out every Monday. Some guy asked me if I wanted to work for a newspaper, and of I said yes. I had never previously considered a career in journalism.

I knew as soon as I talked to the staff members there that I was going to work for them. And, I stuck with it, and within a few months I was the paper's managing editor. A year later after that impulsive decision, we went twice-weekly and I had no choice but to work hard to make it work, even with a 12-hour delivery job for Backstreets Pizza. A year after that, I was in the office because the twice-weekly gambit failed and ended up in our collapse. I got a call from Rick Mattioni at WVTF asking if any of us would like an internship, and suddenly I'm an intern radio producer.

Okay, sure, that's all professional, not personal, but don't the two really blend together for each of us in the end? We just live a life, and professional and personal are just labels we use to help compartmentalize. At the end of the day, we're just ourselves.

I tend to have a hard time making decisions, but at key moments in life I have made snap decisions that changed everything. Somehow, I like radical change that alters everything, and it's nice to change things around. Even though sometimes, that radical change is not nice for everyone.

I've been complaining a lot about something needing to change, but I know at 38 that I can't afford too many changes.

It is my hope that altering this one detail about my life will at least make things a little more interesting.

And I don't want to over-analyze this one. I want to simply say to myself that I did it, it's done, now enjoy what's good about it and fix what's bad about it.

This awesome now I am living through is the sum of many impulses that changed the format of my life. I've changed life genres so many times now that it's hard to keep count.

I'm going to give myself a bye here. There are many reasons why this was maybe not the best option, but it's an option I took it and I am sailing down that mountain into glory.

Also, it's really nice to drive a vehicle that doesn't have a decaying paint job, a broken headlight, gets 10 miles a gallon, and has a trunk that doesn't shut. I have at least overcome those annoyances.

Bring on the new ones, I say!

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