Being Practical Isn’t All That Great
I hate that title. What I really want to say is “Being Practical” sucks.
Or at least the common understanding of that phrase.
I recently did something incredibly impractical.
It’s something that could take years to fix, will most certainly cost thousands of dollars, will create unforeseeable stress and frustrating amounts of work, has already caused physical pain and was against medical advice.
It’s wasn’t necessary. It isn’t easy.
There was really nothing practical about it.
And I couldn’t be happier.
What crazy, expensive, painful, ill-advised thing did I do?
I got braces.
Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.
– Brendan Gill
Did you know I’ve agonized over this decision for over 10 years? The idea of spending thousands of dollars and seeing one orthodontist all in the name of vanity rubbed badly against my practical side.
Spending thousands of dollars and busting my ass to find cooperative orthodontists around the country to play my little game of Build A Traveling Medical File while we travel full-time rubbed against my orthodontist’s practical side, too.
But I insisted. I told him I’d take care of the hard part if he’d just play along.
I was freaking adamant against being practical until I got what I wanted.
Being Practical Is No Way To Live
Culturally, we make impractical decisions All.The.Time….decisions that are expensive, painful, and idealistic: like buying a home, having a child or falling love!
The big stuff is easy, though, right? It’s the smaller impractical choices we let get in our way.
Or at least I did.
You know what changed my mind?
Realizing just how many impractical choices have positively shaped my life:
- I made the impractical choice to be a mother at 17.
- I made the impulsive decision to become a massage therapist at 18.
- I made the expensive choice to own my own massage business at 20.
- We made the impractical decision to take Zeb out of school when he was 7.
- And then we had the crazy idea to sell all our belongings and travel full-time.
Did you know the definition of impractical included things like “idealistic,” “illogical,” “wild” or “improbable”?
Most of life falls into that category!
A bumblebee’s ability to fly? Certainly improbable.
The amazing capabilities of a human cell? Definitely wild!
Traveling, creating art, making love, music, dancing, climbing trees, poetry, laughter, romance…completely idealistic.
Chasing dreams, following your instincts, trust: Absolutely the most illogical things you can do in such a volatile time as ours.
And well…..there it is. My reason for being utterly impractical: All of life depends on it.
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Cecil Beaton
Four Steps To Stop Being So Practical
I often get stopped by fear. And I often remind myself how to overcome it.
These are my four steps to making any wild, illogical, idealistic and absolutely life-changing decisions that I badly, desperately want (but am seriously paralyzed) to make.
They are the four things that get me from here to there, from fear to action, from stagnancy to growth.
It’s really rather simple. But, of course, incredibly challenging. Ready for it?
- Trust Yourself. Like Benjamin Spock says, you know more than you think you do.
- Know what you want and why and how. Because you’ll likely be doing some explaining and you’ll need a good plan.
- Take a really deep breath. Repeat this step often.
- Then focus only on taking the next step. Yup, just the next one.
Before long you might just find yourself living a wild, illogical, idealistic life of your own.