Posted by: susanideus | July 20, 2010


Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” Than a voice comes to me out of the darkness and says, “We hate to tell you this, but life is a thousand-word essay.”  ~Charlie Brown

Choices have to be made; otherwise life stands still. Some choices are difficult. Some choices are made with very little thought given to them. Sometimes, like Charlie Brown, I get mired down thinking about choices and life—past, present and future.

Much of my life has been the result of impulsive choices. Some good, some not so good.  The problem with choices is that they always have consequences, and those are not always in one’s control. We make the choices; the consequences happen. We may not have intended for that particular thing to happen, but we made the choice and there it is. I can’t predict the future. Of course, with a great deal of forethought and study, I might make a better choice than not.

One of the best impulsive choices I made was to marry Harold, only months after meeting him. (No, it is for sure numero uno!) Obviously, 42 years later, those consequences have been of great import and effect. I’m very good at making relationship choices. Some of the worst choices I’ve made have been financial. I don’t make very wise choices there. It would seem that after living to this somewhat advanced age, I would learn, right? But, those choices always seemed the right ones at the time, with no malice or harm intended, for myself or anyone else.

Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. ~Author Unknown

I’ve often been accused of not being an impulsive person, of being too staid or strait-laced. I wonder, though, if there is there a line between impulsivity and spontaneity? I mean, sometimes a person has to be willing to take chances, to seize the moment, right? Wouldn’t life be dull, and well, lifeless, otherwise? Or maybe spontaneity should be reserved for the small things, the fun things, the choices without too many far-reaching consequences that affect too many things and people. But if you have to stop and think about all of that, is it really spontaneous?

I chose and my world was shaken. So what? The choice may have been mistaken—the choosing was not. Just keep movin’ on.  ~Stephen Sondheim

Moving here on such short notice was more or less impulsive, and by definition, also spontaneous. It’s  the best choice we could have made, at the time, with the information at hand. Consequences still unknown for the most part. We’re here and living our life as best we know how. So far, it’s very good!

I’ve come to the conclusion that choice is a good thing. Some choices will always be, or seem to be, better or worse than others. Impulsive or spontaneous or well-thought out—my choices define me. And, so far the outcome isn’t so bad. I can always choose to change, right?

Until a person can honestly say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say “I choose otherwise.”  ~Stephen R. Covey



  1. After spending most of my life as staid on the outside/impulsive on the inside (or often on the sly), I sort of came unglued and made some spontaneous life-changing decisions. Except I suspect they weren’t spontaneous. I think all the consequences, all the yes/no’s were roiling around in my head for a long time, and that there was much more behind the choices than simply “I want to.” In fact, I believe I read that some people’s minds just work that way. Period.

    If being impulsive gave you Harold (with the consequence of two lovely daughters) and a new environment where you’re happy, I say congratulations and more power to you.

    • I suspect, Kathy, That I’m much the same. As much as I mull things over in my mind, most choices are not spontaneous–not always good either. Seems to me that several of my truly spontaneous choices have worked out the best. Hmmmm…………

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