You read that right. To clarify, I am not suggesting doing anything that would endanger the wellbeing of yourself or others, physically or psychologically. Don’t be mean and don’t get anybody hurt. But I am saying that sometimes it is better for us, as weird and complex human beings, to make the dumb choice in order to save ourselves a little sanity.
I don’t know about you, but the last month or so hasn’t been the easiest stretch I’ve gone through. Hasn’t been the hardest, either. But I stay up late a lot of nights because I don’t like to go to bed feeling, well, unhappy.
I was having a particularly rough day a couple of weeks ago and talking to a good friend about it, which was starting to help. But then said friend decided to show up at my door at 11:30 at night, and told me to come outside. I grabbed my house key and a pair of shoes and hopped in the car, and we got junk food I hadn’t eaten in years and hung out at a favorite spot just to talk until I was feeling better.
Now mind you, I had not one, but two job interviews the next morning. I had to be up early. I had chores to do, and no guarantee of much rest time the following day. By a lot of accounts, choosing to go on that late-night adventure was dumb. But it was also exactly what I needed.
Emerging adulthood is a strange time of life because a lot of us feel in-between everything and as if we don’t quite belong anywhere. And that can suck. Maybe all your friends are far away or your living situation isn’t what you had hoped. Maybe jobs aren’t working out or you’re mired in schoolwork. Maybe personal stuff is just off and you feel like too many things are going wrong, like you can’t catch a break. Make one instead.
Free time can be difficult to find, and I don’t want to trivialize what some people have on their plates. But when I’m considering making a decision that feels a little risky, I usually go back to one question: Years down the road, what story do I want to be telling my grandkids? Do I want to tell them I took the risk and found adventure, that I took my time and made a difference for someone? Or do I want to tell them I played it safe and didn’t laugh as much as I should have, that I didn’t make the sorts of memories I wanted?
I don’t know what you’re going through, but I do know that Slurpees taste better after midnight, adventures are best when they feel straight out of ’80s movies, and a day trip to a place called unusual can be just what you needed. The things that are weighing on you will still be there, but it’s okay to sometimes give yourself the grace to step away from them and do something dumb, just for a little while.
What dumb stuff makes you feel a little better about life? Feel free to let me know in a comment below, or reach out on Twitter @ohgrowup and Instagram @oh.grow.up. Thanks for reading, and good luck growing up.