Turning Over A New Leaf

“What was I thinking?”

One of the things I really need to get better about is my impulsive nature.  I have a tendency to jump right in without thinking things through. This applies to anything, really. For instance, last year, my wife and I were casually chatting over breakfast about kittens and she said “What kind would you want IF you were going to get one?”  and I said, “One with a lot of different colors and a little pink nose.”  By noon that afternoon we were on the way to pick up a kitten she found on the internet fitting my vague description. Once we got him, and walked into the house with him, is exactly when it hit me: “I didn’t think this though at all.”  The older cats hated him, nothing was kitten proofed, he was crazy rambunctious, I could feel my blood pressure rising and it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to be getting much sleep for the next six or eight months. So, that’s just one example.


Another perfect example was the time I decided I wanted a bicycle. A day later, I had an expensive 21 speed mountain bike in my hallway, complete with chain, lock and helmet. The first day I took it out, I rode it a block and a half to the gas station to get milk and cigarettes. On the way there, I was petrified because when I was young, we rode on the sidewalks. Basically, 35 years ago. Now, I’m an adult and I live in England, where the streets are the size of a dirt path with cars parked on both sides and you’re expected to ride on the road. So, Old Wobbles here was about eight seconds away from literally shitting her pants on this six minute journey. Once at the gas station, I took off my helmet, locked my bike up, untucked my pant cuff from my sock, walked in the store, bought my milk and cigarettes, came back outside, unlocked my bike, put my helmet back on, wrapped my bag around my wrist and started off, wobbling more so now because I was off balance with a half gallon of milk swaying all over the place. Needless to say, I was a wreck and it was certainly more work than just walking there. The next day, my wife was really excited to see me ride, so I brought the bike into the back yard and said, beaming “Ok, watch this!” and promptly rode into the BBQ grill and a brick wall, cutting my hand and bruising my shoulder. And that, my friends, was the last time I rode my bike. Well, no more of those kinds of snap decisions! No more joining meeting groups I’ll never attend. No more buying overpriced “running shoes” in the sports store window because it’s “motivation to jog.”



My intentions are always so good

I usually get gung-ho about things that will potentially make me feel good or get healthier, so my intentions are always really good. Like, “I’m going to ONLY EAT ORGANIC fruits and vegetables from now on!”  and nine days later, I’m tossing out spoiled, smelly cucumbers, moss-covered moldy strawberries, and gross brown avocado mush because I went overboard on a spending spree at the market in my quest to eat healthy FOREVER (after 45 years of pizza). Why can’t I just EASE into things?

In that moment when I make a decision to do something extreme, it’s the passion behind the decision that comes out of nowhere, which is weird because I’m not a passionate person, especially about health. Well, I’m not AS passionate as I was when I was younger — about every little thing. I’d like to think I’ve mellowed out a little. (Stop laughing, those of you who know I just bought a light weight, foldable stationary bike with digital controls!)  This is more about being impulsive, anyway. So, I realize that I have to balance out the extreme with a bit of thought and logic BEFORE jumping into something or getting so gung-ho that I get myself into pricey and ridiculous situations.

Learn from those past costly mistakes

I’ve put together some key steps so when I feel myself about to jump into something, I stop, take a breath and think about it. Then I discuss it with someone rational to weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes this isn’t my wife, it’s an objective third party (no offense to my wife, but she’s so super supportive of everything, she rarely says no to anything). Then, I give the idea some serious thought and honestly think about whether I will commit to it realistically (like a gym membership, no. A dietary change to lower carbs, yes. Rock climbing lesson, no) Then — and this is the tough one — I sit on those thoughts for three days before doing anything to see if I feel the same way about it.  Lastly, I add up the money spent on all of  these spur of the moment decisions that didn’t work out (not the cat, because he’s turned out okay!) and keep that Post-It note with the rough dollar total someplace handy. It’s very simply a “Stop, Look and Listen” approach to catch myself when I feel impulsive. Even when it comes to those stupid things near the cash register. I don’t need to get picture hooks or lip balm EVERY time I go to the store.

These key things have helped prevent me from getting a puppy, a gas-propelled scooter and a Super-Rugged Multi-Speed Weed Wacker on sale at Home Depot.

I really wanted that weed wacker. But I couldn’t justify it because my backyard is a 15 ft  x 15 ft patch of grass. Maybe a dual tubed leaf blow– No!

I didn’t get either and this is how I know those steps are working.




About Denise Warner-Gregory

Denise Warner-Gregory hosts the successful, funny podcast “The
Lesbian Lounge” on iTunes & Podbean. At the age of 45, she's lived in
NY, FL and now resides happily in London with her wife, Jemma. Denise
contributes regularly to many popular LGBT blogs, websites & resources
and hosts live events in both the US and the UK.