6. Thats deep
“I had a really good time tonight.”
“I did, too.”
“So we’ll do it again soon?”
We hugged, slightly longer than people typically do. When we let each other go, I felt slightly unsatisfied.
In one split second I reached my arm out to her waist right as she was about to turn towards her car, pulled her in, and kissed her.
Every hair on my body stood up. Standing in the parking lot as we kissed, I forgot that plenty of people were standing out in front of the bar, looking at us. When I realized that, I started to lean away, only to feel her pulling me back in.
What proceeded was no love story though, as the months for which we dated were relatively insignificant.
What changed was my outlook. It was a split-second decision that would follow me permanently. It was a split-second vow to not leave things in a way that leave me dissatisfied. It was a vow to follow what felt right when the choice was presented.
I would go for the kiss. I would not leave words unsaid. I would refuse to be passive about what I want, how I feel, and who I am.
It seemed small at the time, but the choice changed my life.
April 12, 1996, 3:42pm. My car was speeding backwards at 70 mph, heading for a cliff after the tire blew out and spun the car around backwards. Should I go left, or right?
The week before, another driver made the wrong choice on the same curve and ended up driving off the 80 foot drop to his death. I was fortunate enough to make the right choice. I have two crushed vertebrae from it, but I’m lucky to be alive.
8. Ring ring, future calling
One day in high school, I decided to skip jazz band rehearsal. Instead of being at practice that afternoon I was home, watching Bugs Bunny, when the phone rang.
It was an adult from my church, asking if I’d be interested in going to Japan that summer to help represent the church at an international youth peace conference.
I’d never been out of the country before.
I said yes, and a few months later found myself, at age 16, the de facto leader of the American youth who attended this conference (as I was the oldest).
Those two weeks shaped the next 10 years of my life. I came home in love with Japan.
I started studying the language during night school at a local university, picked my colleges based on their Japanese study abroad programs, did my entire junior year at a Japanese university, and later worked for the Japanese government for a few years in Washington, DC.
None of this would have happened if I hadn’t randomly decided to skip jazz band that day and thus been home to answer that phone call.
When I was in college, there was this girl I was really into. She was very sweet, and pretty, and outgoing, and (unfortunately) dating a friend of mine.
Then he broke up with her, and she started showing an interest in me. YESSSSSS!
One evening, myself, my sister, this girl, and a mutual friend were all traveling into town to hang out for the evening. Someone started talking about who they’d like to date.
The girl point-blank asked me, “Paul are you interested in dating anyone?”
My mouth opened up and vomited: “Nah, I don’t want to date anyone right now. I just want to stay single.”
PAUL, WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?? ARE YOU INSANE?!
I had no idea why I said it, but she immediately quit showing any interest in me. I was distraught for days.
As time went on, it became evident just how many dark skeletons that girl had in her closet. No wonder my friend broke up with her.
I firmly believe God took control of my mouth and kept me out of the dysfunctional craziness a relationship with her would have been.
10. Partying has its perks
One day, In the early nineties, I was delivering food around a downtown area. I bumped into a college friend who invited me to a house party.
It rocked. We had so much fun that we became good friends.
Later, he saw my sketchbook, and asked if he could share it with his father who was a physician. His father shared it with a fellow physician who was authoring a series of books relevant to MRI mapping.
The physicians invited me to another city 300 miles away and asked me if I could draw anatomical pictures and do body illustrations for them. I said, “Yes I could!” They asked me if I would like to do that full time as a profession, and I accepted.
All because I went to a very fun college party.
11. Book fan
I was on an online dating website when I got a message. A blond-haired, blue eyed boy had asked me what my favorite book was. I had decided previously that anybody who asked me about books deserved a reply. Because books. Why would I not answer a question about my favorite subject?
So we began a conversation about books, fantasy specifically. This texting conversation led to a phone call which eventually led to a date. I am marrying the love of my life in a year.
He helps me with my depression and anxiety and I help him with his OCD and depression. A split-second decision to reply to a message online allowed me to meet my best friend, and to begin an adventure I never dreamed would exist for me.
credit: Susanna Wilson