Thinking Things Through

You know how it goes: the more you think about a thing, the less likely you are to do it.  The benefits of action are pulped whilst the risks become mountainous.  I have done many, many foolhardy things in my life, but I can’t recall actually preparing for any of them.  Generally I do things ‘now’ or not at all.  It is over half a century since I last clambered into the Boy Scout uniform, but were I to don the woggle today I would almost certainly find myself the proud recipient of the ‘Talking Myself Out of Stuff’ badge.  If consideration is required on any course of action, it is highly probable that nowhere is where it will take me.  I will tackle almost anything if it is just dropped in front of me, but give me the time to ponder the best way to get things done and the solution will almost always be by not starting them.

But – and here’s the rub – I have also begun to realise that it is possible to appear a bigger fool for not trying something, than for trying it and failing – although the physical pain is generally not so great.  I have two daughters who have always known exactly which buttons to press, two son-in-laws who, up to date, have not yet started to treat me with utter disdain, and four grandchildren who still believe that I am capable of absolutely anything.  This is not a faith that it is possible to ignore.  My wife, who has to live with the consequences of damaged back, shredded knees and shattered ego – not to mention the potential for having to scour the neighbourhood for a usable defibrillator – is slightly more circumspect.  Nobody (I think) wants to see me get hurt – at least not seriously – but if they can just laugh at my ineptitude a tiny bit, then everyone is happy..

Anyway, human frailty (physical and mental) being what it is, the risks of personal damage are now beginning to be stacked against the possibility that this might be the last opportunity I ever get and, increasingly often, the chips are falling on the latter.  The thought process goes

  1. I would be stupid to even think about it.
  2. The potential for physical harm is massive.
  3. I might make a total prat of myself.
  4. I might not.
  5. I’ll do it.

I left pride behind me long ago.  It has taken a long holiday in a double bed with my ego.  Looking foolish is not something that has ever gravely bothered me.  I am certain that, in my lifetime, I have from time to time offered temporary shelter to most of the deadly sins – although I would have to look them up to be sure.  I am sure I remain guilty of one or two of them, but they are definitely the ones that I can do without getting out of my chair.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, despite this new insight, I’m not going to rush into things.  The decision to become more spontaneous is not one I intend to take lightly.  I need time to think it over.  We are more than a month into the New Year now and I have yet to undertake anything that I could consider even slightly risky, but I feel the time is coming.  For instance, the next time we’re out and about, I might climb a tree… or at least stand under one… providing none of the branches look loose… and there’s no risk of a thunderstorm… maybe…

I’ll think about it.


18 thoughts on “Thinking Things Through

  1. Very wise. Wiser than I am as I tend to just do stuff spontaneously, along with the line ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’, shortly followed by finding out what the worst that can happen is.

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  2. I think about doing lots of things and then given time, think myself out of them (On a regular basis, like every day!) Thinking is something that I’m really good at. I’ve mastered the art of thinking over several decades, where now, I can simply think on auto pilot. I don’t even have to think about thinking, it simply happens, even when I’m not thinking… I think!

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  3. You were unwell at the beginning of the year, so you have a good excuse for not rushing into your new attitude. May we look forward to updates? I have been a thinker all my life too. Is it a British thing? But those rare times that I have rushed head first…those have been my moments! As you age your set of guidelines change, inevitably. Mostly “Do you want to?” I used to ask myself “Will anyone be offended?” but I’ve knocked that one off.

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  4. There is very little temptation greater than a three-year-old taking you by the hand saying, “Come on, Bumpa, let’s…,” whatever it is.

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