At an age much greater than that lived by most college students, I went back to school to finish my undergraduate degree. I can’t say it was a bucket list item to check off, more, it was a glaring unfinished endeavor that had plagued my psyche for awhile. I don’t know why, it was just one of those personal stirrings that I could no longer ignore. This was not an UNinformed choice- it was super informed.
But, as I navigated through the various coursework, writing papers, preparing discussions and such, I discovered that indeed, there were some Unexpected Benefits of Uninformed Choices.
Here is one:
My foray into the course, Dark Dreams: Studying the Horror film was facilitated by my college mentor who described it as worthwhile and as I understood it “fun”. I thought, ‘fun is good!’ I had imagined watching films of King Kong swiping airplanes, holding Fay Wray atop the Empire State building. Or maybe Godzilla (that was a Japanese horror film – I knew that), or reviewing the empathetic monster created by Frankenstein. These were all more or less fun horror films. But as the course progressed, I learned that fun was not an accurate description of what I was about to experience.
Now I had to suffer through the horror of blood, gore and psychological scarring and write about it through a Freudian looking glass. I had no idea how I was going to do this, but somehow I did and that uninformed choice, although one wrought with a degree of suffering I had not expected turned out to be my most fulfilling class.
It reminded me of starting ballroom dancing 12 years ago at the beginning of the “Dancing with the Stars” craze. Since I was a professional ballet dancer and hadn’t danced for many years, I decided how fun and easy it would be, I always wanted to explore it and ballet was so rigorous. Ballroom, although in high heels was not balancing on point and doing multiple pirouettes with and without a partner. I mean, how hard could learning and performing the rumba be? As it turned out, very.
Frustrating days filled with total confusion on hip action – Cuban motion – what’s that? I was told I was doing Fosse style (remember Cabaret?). Well , that I was told was not even close. And the worst part – my ballet training was often a hindrance – I was stiff as a board.
But I threw myself into my Latin dancing and admitted that it was not easy and forced myself to feel unfamiliar until my committed work paid off – the result being that I placed well in my competitions. And I had fun. But I’m still working on being less of a scientist dancer and more the risk taking stylist I desire.
Maybe there is an opportunity for you to pull the trigger on something that you desire but is easily discarded by thinking long and hard about it. Maybe that showcase idea you had that felt exciting was abandoned as too weird or difficult. Megan Macedo, a marketing coach in the style of “be yourself” asks these questions while desperately trying to find her own calling AND being a good girl at the same time. “Why did I have to question everything? Why was I always analyzing my life and my choices? Why didn’t I have the blind obedience or dumb confidence that seemed to stand others in such good stead in life? Why was everything always so complicated for me?
Such is the guarantee that in life that which is unexpected, difficult, sometimes horrifying, and frustrating often turns out to be fulfilling, enlightening, and worthwhile. I learn this again and again by finding myself in situations often thought to be one thing and discovering something different altogether. I actually wish that I had done this more often, not played it safe and as Eleanor Roosevelt so profoundly stated, “do that which we think we cannot”.
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