Defying Very Good Advice

CHRISTINA KELSO                     FEBRUARY 4, 2015                    THE NAVIGATOR
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION LINK: DEFYING “VERY GOOD ADVICE”
Illustration by Isa Maridsa
Illustration by Isa Maridsa

On days like this, I feel a lot like Alice in Wonderland.

Not because I’ve tumbled down a rabbit hole to anywhere particularly wondrous or magical, but mostly because it’s on these days when the work piles up that I realize, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”

If I listened to the good-intentioned voice of reason in my head a little more often, I’d probably be a few pounds thinner, get a little more sleep, not lose my keys and wallet as frequently, stress less over deadlines, and have a few more George Washington’s mixed in with my car’s emergency change.

I don’t like to brag, but give myself some very good advice. “You don’ t need a sweet tea; water would be better.” “Shut the laptop and go to bed; -you might sleep in.” “You should really do that story now while you have the chance.” “You really can’t afford the gas to go anywhere today.”

I think back on this advice as I jump up and down in the morning in an awkward dance to get into my favorite jeans (that totally still fit), wake up in a panic and run out the door five minutes late to class, push through an adrenaline fueled writing binge to get meet a deadline, or stare with horror at the tragedy that is my bank account.

I know. Tsk. Tsk. I should be very ashamed of myself. Somehow though, I’m not really.

While it is important to listen to the guiding voices in our heads, to make note of the very good advice that it gives us, sometimes defiance is worth it.

Maybe there is a reason that we imperfect humans tend to not take that advice we give ourselves?

Life is just a stream of “nows” that fade into memories in an instant. When we listen to the voice of reason too carefully, it puts us at risk of giving our lives away to the anticipation and anxiety of the future. It makes us fearful of taking risks, living it up a little, and enjoying the limited amount of breaths we take on this earth.

In the day I had off from work and school this week, when my inner voice urged me to write papers and study for my upcoming exams, I chose not to listen.

Instead, I used the time to help my sister to help pick out her wedding dress and pass by a few uneventful hours with my boyfriend Kyle, some of the last we’ll spend together before he leaves for Air Force OTS next weekend.

I used money that I didn’t have (courtesy of Discover Card) to see my sister smile, pitching in with my two of my friends to surprise her by buying the dress she wanted as a wedding present.

Now, after the weekend has passed, I sit here making up for my defiance with two classy bags under my eyes, a few very questionable answers left behind on a ill-prepared for geography test from this morning, and even more questionable credit habits. Given the choice, I would do it all over again.

Silencing the voice of reason gives us the audacity to act without fear of consequence, the audacity to team up with a Cheshire Cat and take down the occasional tyrannical queen; the time to relax and throw back some tea with your favorite March Hare, Mad Hatter, and Dormouse; the freedom to fall into a distraction for fun, to chase a white rabbit, just to see where it leads.

The weather outside is starting to warm and the spring surrounds us with people, events, and opportunities for change. Even through the work-school grind of the semester, there are small moments each day to enjoy it. I dare you to defy your better judgment and find them.

Life in Wonderland would certainly be easier if we always took this “very good” advice that we give ourselves.

But where’s the adventure in that?