Friday, August 03, 2007

The High Price of Stupidity

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to decisions. I think, in the end, you are the choices you make. The good ones, sure, but the bad ones even more.

In the bad decisions department, I’ve made some lulus. I achieved the Bad Idea Trifecta of bad jobs, bad relationships, and bad friendships. I routinely order the wrong thing in restaurants, simply because it's the only dish on the menu that I can pronounce, or because I’ve totally forgotten what I intended to order in the first place. That's the tip of the Stupidity Iceberg.

I guess lot of bad outcomes could be blamed on outside factors. Maybe I run into a lot of unsavory, controlling types because I appear small and weak. I can’t really help the way I look, but I can choose to walk away from people who bully me.

I’ve spent the last year trying to push out the willful, repetitive stupidity. Doing the same foolish stuff over and over is exhausting for me, and probably very boring to those who care about me (or read my blog). I spent my twenties lurching from one disaster to the next, mainly because whatever I was doing seemed like such a good idea at the time.

So far, my thirties have felt much more methodical. I occasionally slip up, but in exciting and novel ways. Being smart about my life is a lot less boring than I thought it would be. I’ve made a conscious effort to categorize and root out the mistakes from my past. I have four categories so far: Poor Impulse Control, Assuming the Best in Others, Inertia, and Who the Hell Knows/Miscellaneous Goofiness.

But I’ve decided this week that my self-improvement project should be a little less inwardly focused. (Yes, I know introspection is part of self-improvement, but I also know that I’m not a terribly introspective person.) So the next step will be to forgive the mistakes of others, especially if those mistakes don’t affect me personally. I’ll try not to see someone else’s bad judgment as something to get bent out of shape about.

If you go through life looking for things to be offended about, you’ll have plenty of steam to get you through the day. But if you assume that most people mean well, it’s easier to sleep at night. I’m feeling pretty old these days, and I really need my sleep.

So if you know me out in Reality Land, and I’ve ever nagged you about something stupid that you did, I’m sorry. It doesn’t change the fact that you probably screwed up, and I wish you’d wise up already. It just means that I’ll try not to take it so personally next time.

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