Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 49 - One Decision

Have you ever swam with dolphins?  It's a joyous once-in-a-lifetime event and I encourage you to do it.  Discovery Cove is the place to enjoy this adventure but it is also a once-in-a-lifetime-price. A more reasonably priced once-in-a-lifetime-event is swimming with the manatees. We did this a couple of years ago. Our scuba diver organizer asked us to pay the upfront non-refundable fee of $30 per person to swim with the manatees.  Some people would scuba dive and others would snorkel if they were not certified yet.  It was a chance of a lifetime to swim with the manatees and we wanted to do it. They only come into the springs to get warm for two months out of the year at different springs in Florida. 

Manatee with a calf underneath her belly

When I was married, I had been snorkeling in Hawaii moons ago and looked forward to doing it again.  We had gone to Hanama Bay and were told to bring peas with us.  When we drove up there were signs posted everywhere DO NOT FEED THE FISH.  So being the renegade that I was I put a few handful of peas in my husbands pocket.  My swimsuit was a floral design so as soon as we got in the fish kept coming up to me and pecking at my suit thinking it was a flower they were trying to eat.  My husband jumped out of the water and screamed.  I said, "Why are you screaming?"  He said,  "The fish are swimming into my pockets!" They were very friendly and obviously were used to other people bringing peas before us.  So after convincing him to give me the peas, we headed back in to the water and did exactly what the sign told us NOT to do. 

So many times we make one decision that can have consequences of a lifetime but we always think, I won't get caught, I'm too smart.  Or we may think that wouldn't happen to me. A good example of this is when we get speeding tickets.  (A word of advice from an old referee Maryland State Trooper...just drive maximum seven miles over the speed limit because the tickets don't have any categories below seven miles.) So in my infinite wisdom I took the peas because "friends" had told me too.

Reminds me of the saying my mother would say to my responses, but ALL MY FRIENDS DO IT.  She would ask, "So if your friends decided to jump off a bridge to their death, would you do that too?" Which I triumphantly replied, "Of course not!"  So over the years I've learned not to do something because my friends have suggested.  Doing the right thing to me is thinking about all the consequences and doing the best I can to follow the law.  Looking back at the Hanama Bay moment, this probably was not very smart, what was I thinking.  What if I had gotten arrested in Hawaii, missed my return plane back to the mainland?  Just stupid.

I have a saying, We are just one decision away from changing our lives.  This came into play that day at Crystal River when we were to swim with the manatees for the first time. At 4:30 AM we were getting ready to go out on the boat which was a forty minute ride just to get there.  As I stepped outside the hotel door to check the weather, my teeth were literally chattering.  I walked back into the hotel room and announced, "Today is one of those days that I'm going to make one decision that is going to change my life. I never quit or back out of anything but the money we prepaid for this trip is not worth the pain my body will endure today if I swim in that water.  I'm not going in, I'll ride in the boat with you but I'm not going in."  I was one decision away from changing my life and I made it.  Ainta gonna do it.

There were 300 manatees at Blue Springs this day!
My boyfriend being the brave fool, whoops I mean soul, that he is said, "Dagnumit I paid for it, by God I'm doing it!"  [I'm paraphrasing here.]  The whole entire windy frigid ride to get there was miserable.  Our noses were running but I was comforted that I was dry and would remain dry.  He jumped in, came out and some of the boat mates had USED OUR ONLY DRY TOWELS.  I was furious.  When my boyfriend returned his teeth were chattering and he will tell you to this day that he literally froze his ass off.  Yup it's back in Crystal River with the manatees!  I tried to keep him warm with my body heat by hugging him the entire way back to the car. Ridiculous. So when I have a decision to make that weighs heavy on my soul, like good insurance I think of the worst that could happen and choose accordingly.

Some people make tough decisions looking at the WWJD bracelets that they wear: What Would Jesus Do?  Some people make a pros and cons list, whichever side has more tallies helps them make the decision. A few years back I had a class that taught us to make decisions using the Quadrant process.

You draw a big plus sign and take two variables that affect your decision. As a  simplified version I'll use the two variables in the swimming with the manatee question, weather and participating.  The weather diametric is cold/warm and the swimming diametric is to-go/not-to-go.  You place these variables on each end of the corresponding axis, look at the associated quadrants and name each of them. Weather is warm and going to swim I would label: Heaven. Weather is warm and not going I would label: Regrettable.  Weather cold and going to swim: Miserable Hell! Weather cold and not going to swim: Safe and Warm.  The weather was Cold so the warm quandrants are immediately eliminated. The decision was between the two quandrants that were left: Miserable Hell or Safe and Warm.  Safe and warm was clearly the right decision for me at the right time. I would not go and I would lose $30. It was the best money I ever spent to learn the lesson of empowerment that comes from saying No which I rarely ever say.  Money was not worth freezing my tooty off.

Sometimes we can catapult ourselves into a different world by one decision, taking someone up on an offer we don't feel worthy of, going to an event that we meet someone who can be a future connection, going to school and learning a new trade, asking a person out for a cup of coffee, or sharing our time with a child. Some decisions take a lot of thought, others are no-brainers.  Whatever you decide is right for you, just know you made the best decision for you at the time with all the variables given to you at the moment.  If anyone asks us later why we do what we do, then we have the data analysis behind it to help them understand. The answer, "Because" will never be good enough.

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