I've always been a passionate person; fiery temperment, flaring emotion, barely-contained desires, soaring heights, diving depths -- you know. Borderline manic, I suppose. Well ... that's not really true, but you get the idea. I'm hardly your average, even-keeled sort. While I've always considered myself to be more intellectually bent -- and driven -- than emotionally, I can't deny the impact that my (often ungoverned) passions have had on my decisions, and perhaps the course of my entire life. I'm not adept enough at recall and analysis to tell you for sure, but, off the top of my head, I can name no fewer than 2 decisions that were driven by passion ... and had dire outcomes.
The consequences of those decisions are still impacting me today. I can safely say at this point that they will have permanent impact on my life; the course of my life was altered and cannot be changed back.
So, while I have often claimed the high-road of "intellectualism" as my governing force, and reason as my primary guide and steering device, that isn't always true. And when I have allowed my emotional fury to dictate my actions, I suffered the consequences ... sometimes very dire ones indeed.
Obviously, not all decisions have lasting impact, but all of them do have ramifications. I'm not always aware of all of those; the ones I can see vary in their severity.
My point in bringing all this up is just that, in my day-to-day functioning, I've been a person of extremes. That's sort of funny, because I don't like extremes in most other areas of my life. I don't like extremes in weather -- the deep, arctic cold of the midwest is a lot for me to digest each and every year, and it's duration is hideous. The summers aren't any better, either; they're sweltering and oppressive, with high humidity coupled to stifling temperatures, the combination of which is awful and has taken life. The autumn and spring are my favorite times of year -- soft, gentle days with low humidity and delicate, yellow light or, my personal favorite, heavy gray skies. I especially love fall, though; the richness of the colors, the feel of the crisp air, the gentle rains, the smell of the moist, earthy woods. I love it. I wouldn't trade autumn in a rural, wooded area for anything.
I don't like extremes in traffic, either. Nothing is as big a stressor to me as traffic. I've gotten better at accepting it over time, but I still don't deal with it well. I don't like extremes in fashion, or music, or pretty much anything else. I like my food to be good (which is much more difficult to achieve than it sounds), I like my cars reliable, I like my movies entertaining, and I like my stories and fantasies to be engaging. I don't like extremes; I've never turned on the TV because I wanted to watch something "mindless" or read a book so I could "shut my brain off". Never.
At the same time, I don't like mediocrity either. That's a bit of a contradiction, I suppose, but I expect very high standards from almost everything I do or am involved in. I want to be the best, and have the best, and be around the best. I'm not the best at anything I've ever done or likely will do, but I still strive for it in all that I do. At least, I strive for MY best.
I've been described as "stormy" (a favorite of mine) in nature and temperment. I'm not exactly sure what "stormy" is, but I didn't mind the image it conjurred up. (Think a raging sea, flashing lightning and crashing thunder, frothing waves and a battered, creaking ship traversing them.) The problem with that is, I tried to live up to it at some point (rather than just being myself) and it became a problem. I got too extreme about it, in short.
So, if I dislike extremes so much, why am I such an extreme individual? I'm capable of going from the height of joy to the depths of despair in an amount of time that would absolutely astound many people. I can be as cold and calloused as a career hit-man, and yet I can love with all the depths of my soul, with my whole being, pouring every ounce of self out for the sake of the relationship. That's cost me dearly more than once, too.
I want stability and security in my life, in particular where finances are concerned; I want things nice and steady where my parenting is concerned; and I love the security and safety that's come in my marriage. But I'm still extreme in my nature. Can it be that I just despise what I am and don't recognize that?
Yeah, maybe ... or maybe I just don't have as much self-control as I fancy. Maybe I'm just immature. Maybe I AM manic depressive, but it's a mild case. I don't know. Most of the time, I don't care. But I'm sitting here writing this stupid blog because I messed up -- AGAIN -- and didn't let my brain control the ship. That lead to my making mistakes I shouldn't have made, and the consequences have again come back to haunt me. And it's entirely possible that I'm going to have those consequences follow me throughout my career. I pray it won't, but I can't be sure.
What in life IS certain?
As far as I can see, nothing. Things are getting extreme everywhere, and there's no sign of it letting up or improving any time soon. If I don't stop letting my emotions and my "passions" -- or whatever it is you want to term it -- make decisions for me, I'm going to be perpetually sorry and wonder how it is I've ended up wherever I end up. For the record, the aforementioned mistake was not one made in a passionate state or governed by emotion rather than reason; it was just stupid. No two ways about it; it was just a failure to engage brain. Period. Most of the decisions I've made that were emotionally- or passion-driven have, however, wrought similar results. There is only one decision that I made emotionally, in a fire of passion and desire, that I do not regret in any facet.
Marrying my wife.