Am I Wrong?

BY KIMBERLY JAHNS

From when we are young, we are told things are “wrong” or that we are doing something incorrectly: the way we dress, color or eat our food. While some of these rules are made for our own well being and sanity (no one would ever take me out to dinner if I still ate my mashed potatoes with my hands), other rules still seem to put us all into neat boxes so that we’ll always color in the lines.

We are told these rules by parents, guardians or society, all of which we hope have our best intentions in mind. They make sure we don’t leave the house in our skivvies and wear the appropriate attire for our age group. We learn that coloring grass red in pictures is both unrealistic and incorrect. Grass is green, and any other color is wrong.

But how do we know that we don’t eat better with our feet than our hands? Or that ice cream actually makes a delicious breakfast? In life, when we become educated enough to observe others and draw conclusions without even experiencing something, we lose out on actual experiences.

Recently, I was playing with my sister’s 11-week old puppy. This puppy sniffed and promptly ate anything that was small and on the ground. He jumped around and nipped at a fully-grown German Shepherd without any fear. He is young, naïve and constantly testing out his limits.

We need to become that puppy. We think we can conclude the outcome to something before we even try, and we may be right. But where is the fun in that? Yeah, I probably shouldn’t stay up until 3 a.m. watching all 13 episodes of “House of Cards” just so I can say I finished it in one weekend, but hey, I won’t know unless I actually try.

Now, you should not try to “bend” all rules: for example, going 100 miles per hour down the highway may not be the best life choice. The police get involved, you get fined, it’s dangerous and it’s clearly not the same as sitting on your sofa watching Netflix for 12 hours straight.

The smaller rules that we have absent-mindedly believed are the ones that should be tested, pushed and stretched. We get into a routine, a boring, monotonous routine. When an opportunity to try something new arises, we may decline it because we’re so used to our schedule we don’t want to move outside our standardized rules.

I have gone sledding on cookie sheets, used my hand as a whisk and have eaten hot cocoa mix without any water. While none of these things is by any means crazy, these activities are outside the “norm.”  In all honesty, most of these activities occurred because I was lazy and didn’t want to purchase a sled, find a whisk or heat up water, but that is beside the point. And please do not think from reading this article that all I do is sit on my sofa eating hot chocolate powder, watching Netflix and believing I have a crazy life. Although that happened once, that does not define my life.

Try skipping to class (notice I said skipping TO class, not skipping A class) or talking to someone you always see but may not really know too well or even eating ice cream for breakfast. Some choices may be stupid to make, but then you reaffirm the good reason behind some rules while realizing that others were just mere assumption and were actually stupid to follow in the first place.

Follow laws, follow policy and follow your own moral compass, but otherwise, as Ms. Frizzle would say, “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy!”

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