{6} We Can’t All be ‘Rational Creatures’

Jane Austen, through her character Elizabeth Bennett, liked to poked fun at those who would call women irrational creatures of emotion, wholly without logic. I have long been on the side of liberal feminism, which allows that some women are rational creatures more than capable of making logic-based decisions. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

My foray into decision-making is more like a poorly navigated blunder of bad decisions, indecision and constant procrastination. I put off making decisions until there’s only one option left, and then I complain (loudly) because it’s not the option I wanted. Granted, I’ve realized this fact and I’m taking measures to combat my own self-destructive tendencies, but the reality is my limbic system is the first reflex to make a choice. And it’s usually entirely impractical.

Case in point: I’d been planning for several months now to take a trip out of town in the summer to visit my university friends who were four hours’ drive away. I’d been planning this since March, almost, and around four or so weeks ago I made a hasty decision to bump up the date I’d leave to about June. Big mistake. First of all, my decision to go earlier was motivated almost entirely by the fact that I missed my boyfriend (emotional!) rather than taking into consideration logistics like securing a summer job first and money for transportation, food, etc. (logical!). And that decision was the snowflake that started the snowball of Bad Decisions.

For four weeks, I had it fixed in my head that I’d be leaving town at the end of May. Despite my mother’s stark disapproval; despite the dwindling funds in my bank account; despite the fact that I was desperately searching for a job – I was determined to go. What I was thinking was “He’s leaving the island in a few weeks and then I won’t see him for months.”. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to see a boyfriend (or as my mother sardonically put it “fi go look fi man”) but when I so wilfully and purposefully ignored the reality of my (broke) situation (flat broke), then it became a big problem (like being totally broke).

The reality of my situation never hit me until last week, the week of my intended departure. One second I was wondering what to pack and the next second I realized I had absolutely no clue how I was going to get there. I just didn’t have the cash. I had to call and cancel my plans – my very ill-conceived plans, mark you – and felt horrible about it. The sad part is, this is a startingly common occurence and my friends are already used to my last-minute cancellations.

I’m an optimist. At least, that’s what I tell myself in order to escape the overwhelming feeling of stupidity when I finally realize what a colossally inane decision I’ve made. I find it too easy to ignore reality and focus on the ideal. If I had money, I’d go out of town (ideal). I don’t have money, so I can’t afford to take a trip right now (reality). The happy consequence of these delusions, though, is that I’m always spurred into a spurt of responsible decision-making. I’m riding that high right now, waiting until the next wave of emotional turbulence comes along to knock me soundly off my board.

Conclusion? My better judgment’s failed this round.

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