Monday, August 24, 2015

In Life, and Tests, Always Stick With Your First Answer

Remember when you were sitting in a test, filling the bubbles with number two pencil lead, and hoping not to miss too many of them? You stare blankly at question 17, it hadn't been on any of the study guides, and you didn't remember covering it in lecture at all. You skipped past it, answering all the rest of the questions, and had finally come back to it. You decide to just go with your gut instinct. You're going to miss it anyway so what does it matter what you choose?

The answer that seems to stick out the most (even though you know nothing about it) is A. Or wait... is it C? No... A, you're sure. You fill in the bubble for A, and then scan through the sheet to make sure none were skipped. It starts to nag at you... no I'm going to change it to C. Yeah, C. That's it. C is the right answer. You erase the bubble for A and fill in C. You turn it in and go on your way. A few days later, the professor hands everyone back their graded exams. 

You scan quickly to number 17. 
It was A? WHYYYYYY?! 
You knew it. Why did you have to change it? 

This, my friends, is the key to getting through life (and taking tests). Always go with your gut instinct. Don't change your answer unless you KNOW the answer was wrong. Let's use my life as a perfect example. (One in which I make a lot of mistakes because I deviated from my instincts and went for another answer... oh, the beauty of hindsight.)

When I was 18, I picked a major and applied to colleges. I had been in love with all of my English classes in high school. I was English student of the year my senior year, and spoke at my high school graduation. I was on the school paper, took AP English and aced the test giving me credits for college English. I wrote stories at home in beat up spiral notebooks for fun. I was a writer. I knew that my life would revolve around what came naturally to me. My passion was writing. So, I applied for a communications program at the university I was planning to attend, and set up all my classes. I started that Fall and loved the course work. I knew I had chosen the correct path. 

Until I met Mr. X. 

High School, mid speech, and on a blink.
Thanks, Mom. 
I met Mr. X when I was 19. At the end of my first year of college. He was wild, crazy, a challenge, and whenever I got small victories, I felt like I had won a major battle. He was hard to get, and I had low self-esteem so I tried very hard to get him. During our 18-month relationship, everything about myself was lost. His family was all business, lawyers, MBAs, you name it. Somehow, at the end of our relationship, I was no longer a communications/English major. I was a pre-law major, getting a paralegal certificate. I was really good at it, too, but it wasn't my idea. I had made the choice to change my major myself, but it was because I was too unsure of myself to stick to my plans. I let him, and his judgmental family, tell me what I should be doing with my life, and I tried my damndest to fit into their bubble even though I didn't even like them. I hated who they were as people, and they were always mocking farmers. My dad is a farmer. Needless to say, they were not my kind of people. 
I dumped him halfway through the Associate's Degree program for pre-law/paralegal studies. 

I finished the two-year program, and didn't continue into the Bachelor's program. I was miserable and hated every minute of it. It wasn't for me. It was the wrong answer to the test question of life. I was NOT supposed to be in the law field. You couldn't pay me enough to spend anymore time in the law library, and I certainly didn't want to be dealing with billable lawyer hours for the rest of my life. I hated everything about it, despite getting nearly straight A's. It didn't matter that I was great at it... I hated myself in it. 

After I dropped that major, I took a year off. I was still lost. I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself. I still couldn't see that English and writing had been my correct answer. I allowed the changed answer to confuse me. I bounced around a few ideas, and ended up in Psychology. I could be a therapist, right? I mean... I loved Psychology and all that it brought. Or was it mostly because I was fascinated with it because I was a mess? (Side note: even my own Psych professors said that everyone that goes into Psych, is in it because they have problems. But... doesn't everyone have problems?)

I got my Bachelor's Degree in that program. I was so proud of myself, but couldn't for the life of me get myself to apply for graduate programs so I could become a practicing therapist. I couldn't figure out why I was still so lost. What was wrong with me? I let a lot of years go by. I became an event coordinator, and managed a large booking team. I let 5 years pass after college without thinking twice about what I was doing with my life. 

At 30, I bailed on my event coordinating career. It was so mind numbing that I lost all my creativity, and when I got rid of that work, the creativity came back. I'm now 31 and working as an assistant in a marketing firm. A few months ago, I had an epiphany of sorts. 

My first answer was the right answer all along. 

What have I been doing with my spare time during all of these pursuits? What do I always do, when I'm not doing anything else? What do I find fun despite all the other possibilities in the world? 


My first answer was the right answer all along. I was always meant to be a writer, I just lost my way for a while. I chose C, when I really wanted to choose A. I have learned my lesson. 

Go with your gut. That thing you've always wanted to be? Be that. Don't change your answer. Stick with your first instinct.

J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter novel when she was flat broke, destitute, and everyone was telling her to give up. She stuck with answer A, and look at her now! Once my husband's business plans take off, I'll be able to do what I love full-time, but for now, I'll keep doing it in my spare time, because I am happier than I ever was with the other choices. Now, I bring answer A into my life every time I get the chance, and it always feels right. I make no money writing, this blog is free. I give it away freely, because I love everything about it.

In life, and tests, always go with your first answer. Always. 

++So, friends, what is your first answer? Are you doing it? Share below, I'd love to hear it!

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