Leap first, look later

Being spontaneous will you get you much farther in life than shying away from risks.


by Zoe Butler, Editor-in-Chief

If your friend asked you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?

More times than not, my answer would be yes.

There are certain things that would simply not be the same if they had been treated with planning and perfecting and questioning. Some (I would argue most) of the best times in my life took place at the spur of the moment.

When I was eight, I had just awoken one Saturday morning in my childhood home in South City St. Louis. It was pushing noon, and my mom greeted my morning breath and bed head with her typical: “Good morning, schlafschlumpf.

My sister’s hilariously loud friend, Ellen, was already over and partly the reason for my awakening. Bored as ever, they were pressing my mom for ideas on what to do.

“How about we all just go to Chicago?”

Yes, this trip would have still been fun if it was planned, but probably nothing more than that. We’d still have photos from every place we went, and probably a funny story or two, but it would have lost the certain pizzazz that made it so special. It wouldn’t have the same umph, the same feeling of both excitement and nostalgia, as it does when I look back on it now.

Sometimes it’s the not thinking, the leap of faith, that brings the best results. What’s the saying…I’d rather regret something I did do, than something I didn’t do?

The only time I’ve snuck out of my house was to pick up my almost 22-year-old sister from Westport at 2 a.m. It was a Saturday night, and I was already awake, finishing up the last CBS episode of “The Case of JonBenét Ramsey,” when my phone buzzed.

Will you pleeeease pick me up? Just sneak out, I don’t want to worry Mom.

Why would my sister pay for an Uber, when she’s got her 17-year-old sister for free? It made sense for me to go, and it only took about 10 seconds of hesitation before replying with a simple: On my way.

After swiftly leaving my house, unseen, I felt a rush of adrenaline as I started my car. Immediately, Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” blasted through the speakers. I felt good. But that’s not to say these plans are bulletproof. As I pulled up to where my sister had dropped her pin, I texted: Here.

Nevermind, I actually don’t want to leave yet. I’ll just Uber home later. Thanks though.

My moment of glory quickly faded, and I pulled away feeling a sense of failure. What was the point of sneaking out anyway?

About 10 minutes after I successfully snuck back into my house, my sister walked in. According to her, she wasn’t ready when I arrived, but shortly after was. I may never understand her logic, but I know that it ended up being a memorable night. We somehow stayed up about an hour later, making food and talking about how JonBenét’s brother was obviously the one who killed her.

Maybe I need to be more of a skeptic, question things more. At least that’s what my mom’s old boyfriend thought when I willingly volunteered to be the first to go up in his hot air balloon, this also being the first time I had met him.

“You don’t know any of my credentials, don’t you want to ask a few questions first?”

Maybe it was foolish, but at least I was a fool who was floating 2,000 feet off the ground in an array of color rather than on the ground and regretful of an opportunity missed.

So jump off that metaphorical bridge, and blame me if there’s more negative outcomes than positive. Cause, if nothing else, it’ll at least make for a good story.