Indulge me a bit as I write on the following prompt:
Sometimes, we act on impulse: it could be something as small as ordering that special dessert on the menu, maybe asking out that cute boy or girl, or as large quitting your job and selling everything you own to become a shepherd in New Zealand. What’s the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing you’ve ever done? If you’ve never succumbed to temptation, dream a little. If you gave yourself permission to go a little crazy, what would you do?
I’m not a very impulsive person.
I’m also not a very passionate person. I’m pretty laid back and easy-going. A stirring of passion usually makes me uncomfortable and I value comfort above all else.
I think of impulses as momentary passions. Flashes of emotion that drive you to commit acts that you wouldn’t otherwise consider. This is neither good nor bad–but just not “me”.
Looking back, I consider one of the craziest things I’ve ever done is asking my wife on a date for the first time. It was an act of passion, of emotion, and one that changed my life forever. But it was a slow-burning impulse that lead me to it.
I remember the first time I really became aware of the woman that would later become my wife. We both worked in the same library but seldom came into contact. At the time, she worked in her area and I worked in mine and our paths seldom crossed. But one day, around Christmastime, we happened to be working at the front desk together. It was a pretty quiet day, business-wise, and we chatted much of the time. And I was quietly blown away by her humor and her intelligence. Talking to her was as easy as breathing–and I had never experienced that before with anyone.
We finished our shift and made our way home. I remember freaking myself out because we happened to be driving the same direction home that day and I was certain she was going to think I was stalking her like a creep. After that day, a seed was planted in my brain. A little voice that said, “You should ask her out.”
Months passed and nothing happened. We’d pass each other in our travels and I’d here that little voice in my head, but I’d ignore it. She didn’t want to be bothered with the likes of me. What if she said no? What if she said yes? What would I do? No, it was better to leave her alone.
Then came April–and the annual Employee banquet. I happened to be seated at her table and once again got to enjoy her company. I was my usual, quiet self but I soaked in the conservation that hovered around me. Once again I was struck by just how wonderful she was. And that little voice that I had been hearing since Christmas spoke up a little louder. That night, as I went home alone, I told myself that I would ask her out–once I figured out how.
All that weekend, I plotted my best approach–and ended up talking myself out it. She didn’t need me bothering her. Until, one day later that week, she happened to be taking a break in the periodical area where I was working on updating our current stock. I turned a corner and there she was, sitting at a table, reading a magazine.
She looked up and said “Hi” and I said “Hi” in turn. Then, as she started to turn back to her magazine, I just said it. No thought, no approach. “How would you like to catch a movie sometime?” (or some such). She looked a bit surprised and said “Sure.” I said “How about tomorrow night?” She said that would be fine. We arranged to meet at a nearby movie theater after work and there it was.
Then I promptly went back to my work and tried to not to completely spaz out. But on the inside, all my organs were vibrating. Though it had been in the making for months, this was an impulsive act for me. I had already talked myself out of this. I didn’t have a plan or anything. I didn’t know what to do with myself now that the deed was done. I just blurted out my question with a complete disregard to everything but my desire to spend more time with this amazing woman.
For an introvert like me–that’s an impulse. That’s passion.
That date, our first, is a story for another time. But my slow-burning impulse turned out to be the best decision I ever made in my life.