February 11, 2011
How many times in your life have you sat and wondered, “Why in the world did I do that?” I am prepared to answer that question for everyone right now. Are you ready?
The answer is because we are ridonculously (“ridiculously” for you English majors) stupid and human. We make a mistake, we do it again – and repeat. I can’t tell you how many times since I’ve been in college that I’ve procrastinated by waiting until the last minute to do an assignment.
The result is always the same for me. I always promise myself I’ll never put myself in that situation again, but of course I always do eventually. The fact is, we all knowingly make mistakes or do crazy things that we later regret.
Many of my favorite memories come from working at a summer camp where everyone is encouraged to be fully themselves and open to having a good time. Of course there are lines drawn for rules, but fun can always be had inside boundaries.
My second summer I was in charge of organizing night activities and dances (believe it or not, kids are allowed to dance). My closest friend Scott and I had been discussing a food challenge we called “The Cinnabon Challenge” that required the participants to eat a cinnamon roll, run a lap around the soccer field and repeat the process.
The only rules were that water was not allowed to wash down the cinnamon rolls and if you threw up you were disqualified.
Of course I realized this was not something younger kids should be allowed to do, so I wrangled together five other participants (either leadership or counselors) to compete in this challenge with me and announced the competition to all the kids if they wanted to watch. There were enough cinnamon rolls for everyone to have six each.
I was surprised to be the first to finish eating their cinnamon roll, but I wanted to win. After my fourth cinnamon roll I had grown a layered coating of cinnamon sugar in the back of my dry throat.
The last cinnamon roll I had was the hardest to eat.
The first two tasted delicious, but the latter were not as pleasing to the taste buds. I completed my final lap and threw up my hands in celebration, but apparently someone changed the rules I made to see how long everyone could go.
After 10 more laps around the soccer field, I could run no more. The winner ran 20 more laps after his sixth roll. Unfortunately for him, he threw up a heaving pile of cinnamon and disqualification…so the guy that ran 15 laps won.
The worst idea I had was walking to the water fountain and drinking a good bit of water. If only I could describe to you what it felt like to have six cinnamon rolls expanding in my stomach because of the water I just drank after running 16 laps around the soccer field (I guess that’s the closest I’ll get to an understanding of the pains and woes of childbirth).
I remember just laying down in the grass contemplating whether to blow chunks or not. I chose not to though, because I am not very graceful when it comes to throwing up (ever since eating an entire box of ginger snaps when I was five).
Despite the pain that I clearly remembered, we did the Cinnabon Challenge again three weeks later. This time there was a huge following with kids running alongside their favorite participant (kind of like Forest Gump when he felt like run-ning).
Though eating food with a high probability of an upchuck is definitely a bad idea, I’ve done it twice. Just the same, OBU peoples will run the Whole Milk Two Mile again (was anyone else grossed out by the food coloring last time?).
As long as you are not hurting others or yourself emotionally or physically (or violating your principles), it’s ok to let loose sometimes to do something crazy.
Am I saying that we all make mistakes, and because we always will we should do whatever we want?
No, we all have our boundaries and principles for a reason - which we should never allow anyone to mess with or take away.
I’m just saying there is a wealth of opportunity in our lives to be had, and it would be for shame if opportunities were missed dwelling on mistakes or potential mistakes.
Maybe the next time you ask yourself, “Why in the world did I do that?” – You will be able to say, “Because I was being crazy, but I’m glad I did it.”