The newspaper I used to work for in Alaska has been looking for an editor, to replace the outgoing guy who replaced me one year ago. It’s a big game of musical chairs complete with long plane rides, lots of snow and the occasional Grizzly bear.
One of my friends was debating whether to take the job – and despite me telling her to go for it, she was a little hesitant to do so.
Understandably, of course, because there’s a decent amount of responsibility to the work, and because moving from Virginia to The Last Frontier takes one a little far from home. Adding to the pressure of the decision, her family was telling her it was a bad, dumb, risky choice.
I wasn’t too pushy, but I did put on a semi-convincing used car salesman act, and tried to convince her to take the job.
We spoke for around a half-hour about it, and near the end of our conversation, I dropped this knowledge bomb on her: “Sometimes it’s okay to make stupid decisions.”
Prophetic? Not really. Profoundly wise? Nope. Just moderately helpful – I hope – because it’s truly how I feel.
When you are young, ready to see the world and have no family, kids or even a pet parakeet to tie you down, it’s okay to take a crazy risk and do something a little out of left field.
Sometimes it’s even advisable – I’d go as far as to call it mandatory to get the true blue American experience. Being mobile is one of the greatest freedoms we can have in this country. And failing to exploit that when you are able to is a big shame.
“Able to” is the key, because believe me, there are plenty of times where you won’t be able to, and plenty of people who just cannot. Many people can’t up and move, can’t join in that adventure, because of economic reasons or familial obligations.
I’ve got no judgement on people who live their whole life in the town they were born in, whether it’s by choice or otherwise.
I’m a dude who was raised in St. Louis, and I came back after spending only a little while away – and I’m not leaving anytime soon, so no shade.
But my biggest fear in life has always been that, on my deathbed, I would look back and regret. I don’t want to see with 20-20 hindsight the exciting chances I could have taken, or the moves I could have made that would have brought happiness. And I’d hate for a friend to suffer the same.
I’d hate for anyone who thought they could have a shot at happiness, at following their dreams, to suffer that.
So I’m holding out hope to see some pictures of my friend in Alaska this Christmas, making a risky, stupid decision that will make her happy. And if it does go south – metaphorically – I’ve got a couch she can crash on.