“Every choice you make has an end result.”~ Zig Ziglar
There I sat by myself this afternoon. Rubbing my forehead and wondering what just happened.
Flustered, attempting to recall everything in my head to play it all back. Failing miserably for at least twenty minutes. Then minutes turned into hours of obsession.
Such a red flag as most of the day was wasted while attempting to make sense of things.
I was standing in line at a store and a young attractive woman caught my eye.
I observed in silence for a while. No wedding ring, no clingy 6’8” boyfriend around her neck, no children nagging for her to buy something.
As I moved forward with each patron ahead of me checking out, I keep as much of a visual as possible. And then it was soon my turn.
When I had purchased all of my items, I swiftly put away my wallet and suddenly saw the woman making a move for the front door.
I shot off like a rocket. Running over the toes of no less than two people that were within proximity of me and slamming into unoccupied chairs and tables just to reach the front door before she could.
She and I both would end up in the doorway with the door being held open by the both of us before I even realized it. It was a battle between whether or not I was being chivalrous to hold the door open for a woman or if she was being caring to hold a door open for a person in a wheelchair.
I motioned for her to go first as I pushed the door open with all of my strength, ready to catch it as it sprung back at me from its hinges. She thanked me and walked out and disappeared within five seconds. Meanwhile, I NEVER said a single word. I didn’t even get a “hello” out or formulated the thought to extend to her a compliment. I was left there with just a simple grin on my face as she pulled her sunglasses over her eyes and walked away.
A split second after that, I never saw her again.
Who knows what would or would not happen had I actually spoken to her.
In daily life, we all come across the point where we make split decisions. But usually, they are not so complex as the situation that I found myself obsessing about for hours.
If we are running late for work, do we still stop for coffee or do we press on without it? If we find ourselves in an emergency, who do we call for help first?
Simple examples, but important ones all the same. And it only takes a split second to make a choice in these matters. If we don’t get coffee, some of us end up being a real pain towards others at the office. If we don’t call the right people in an emergency, well as they say “seconds matter” and its true.
I keep getting reminded of the episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where Howard Wolowitz is on a train and he’s spotted a celebrity and he’s obsessing with trying to come up with the BEST opening “line” that he can think of. Meanwhile, his friends are just able to walk up to the celebrity and talk.
That’s the thing with taking risks. You never know if it will work out in your favor or become dangerous.
But then there’s also the other side of the process where I continually think about what could have been. And eventually some kind of thought attempts to relieve my poor brain with the idea that it was okay not to have said a single word to her because you never know what she could have done.
And its usually negative to the point where I think that I am much better off having not said anything because, she could’ve been crazy. She could’ve been dangerous.
Just at a point where I have thought that I was getting better at dealing with the idea of doing nothing and losing out on the possibility of everything.
I would say that in the last two years, maybe three, that I have taken a lot more chances and risks than I ever had in my entire adult life.
And as much as I really am tired of being disappointed or even getting to the point of devastated by people in one way or another, I know that the old saying about dusting yourself off and getting back on the horse just rings true.
There was an example of me chatting with a young woman who lived three hours from me. And within three days, I had taken a risk and made the suggestion on her traveling to where I live and go out. No promises, no expectations.
Hell, even me asking a woman out on a simple date has never been easy for me.
But she agreed, and the night that she was to arrive from out of town, she kept getting lost and the hour was getting later and later and later. Almost late enough to where it wouldn’t have done any good to have gone out on the date because I was aware that she had a three hour drive back home.
Still, I pressed on and had someone drive me to meet her at a central location.
What do I say to her? If anything at all?
The date was nothing short of a dud. Boring and nothing really fun to do because by then just about everything was closed for the night. Ultimately deciding to go to a beer bar to drink and talk.
It would take less than an hour to figure out that this roommate she kept talking about was really her boyfriend. And even at the end of the night as she dropped me off at home I didn’t waste a whole lot of time. I jumped out of the chair, shouted inside my gratitude for the evening and slammed the door shut and kept moving.
Making that split second decision to end the night as I did was probably the smartest thing I had done all night. Considering that later on, I would find out that she would travel about a half an hour away to meet with another man with whom she slept with and didn’t get back to her own home until noon the next day. Then that following evening, she was pulled over by a police officer because she was going in and out of traffic lanes due to her exhaustion from the hours before and it led to a search of her vehicle. And during that search, her trunk was found full of illegal drugs.
Those drugs were inside her vehicle during the time that I was with her. And that was something scary to think about.
It would lead the affirmation that when involving yourself with the possibility of meeting someone from the Internet, you DON’T make plans that fast. Its safer and smarter to take the time to get to know the other person for a long extended period of time before even considering that face-to-face meeting.
But this is only an example of where the decision of taking a risk COULD have led to a really big disaster. Not all risks that I have taken in the past couple of years have been so tragic.
When I have asked other people around me what they think about split second decisions, they always think about situations such as the “fight or flight” scenario. Those of you who have read this blog from near the beginning know that I have had a lot of those situations arise in the past few years.
It has been two years now since I was in that very moment where a split decision had to be made. Something that one could either call life saving or life defending. I defended and thus I survived.
The choices I made led to the decision of me starting this blog. And from it, I have gained a lot of what I would consider good. People that I probably would have never known to exist are now in some small way, a part of my social circles in my own personal social life. I find it hard to think about today what I would do without them.
And as I catch myself rambling, I realize that Zig Ziglar was right. There’s always an end result to each and every choice that we make in life.
We’ll make choices in our lives that are important and some will be less important than others. But they all tie up into a nice little road that we travel down the path of life.
I only wish that for myself that I would stop obsessing with these cognitive distortions whenever it comes to the situation of whether or not to chat up a woman that has caught my eye. Certainly, I cannot be the only one out there in this great big world that does that! Right? Although I would dare to say that I am one of few people that realize that what I am experiencing is a cognitive distortion. Others would dare to think that the other person having them are just whacko!
So yesterday is gone and it will not come back. There’s no way to wind the clock and actually pry my mouth open to say something to the woman that I held the door open for. I must take my medicine for it though. Hopefully I will also turn this experience to something that I will learn from. And I can acknowledge when I should speak up more and when I should back off. There’s always an unbalanced line when it comes to that because everyone is different. Things that are okay with some, won’t be okay for everyone. So we take the hits and learn the boundaries. Learn our lessons, and go on.