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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, March 5

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Neta / February 24, 2006 10:32 AM

Divorce my first husband.

Molly / February 24, 2006 10:32 AM

The smartest thing I ever did was to learn to get busy living or get busy dying!

Andrew / February 24, 2006 10:33 AM

(Question courtesy of Yet Another Jen.)

Smartest thing? Probably buying a Prius just before gas prices really got crazy. I commute 350 miles a week, so that adds up quick.

Maybe that's not the smartest thing I ever did, but it's one of the smartest in years.

MikeH / February 24, 2006 10:46 AM

One of the smartest things I've done/am doing is simplifying my life...

For me, this means de-cluttering and freecycling stuff I no longer need or want (this applies to "friends" as well, although obviously, I don't freecycle them)...

It's been several years since I've owned a car in the city, and I couldn't be happier...

Slowly, but surely, I've been paying off my credit card balances, rather than adding to them...

I've also recently begun volunteer work, and am slowly trying to push myself towards more of a yogic lifestyle...

I now appreciate the old axiom, "The best things in life are free," more than ever...

In short, I guess it means just trying to be happy in the moment, and have faith that if I can successfully do that, the future will take care of itself...

jen / February 24, 2006 10:56 AM

spending a semester in europe.

quitting a job without any reservation and living in the caribbean for a few months.

and paying off both endeavors last year...

hench / February 24, 2006 11:01 AM

i moved to chicago and left most of my bad habits in the previous town.

Xan / February 24, 2006 11:01 AM

out of debt by the time I turned 30.

charlie D / February 24, 2006 11:03 AM

Dropped out of college moved to the mountains of Colorado and spent 14 months traveling around the world.

Not a good idea for everyone but worked for me.

amyc / February 24, 2006 11:14 AM

Listening to my high school guidance counselor. I wasn't planning to go to college, but she pushed me into it. Most of the good things that have come to me in my adult life have been a result of that -- the semester in Germany, the internship in NYC, the lasting friendships, the opened mind, the great job with a fellow alum of my school, and just a completely changed perspective on life. I grew up a lot faster and a lot better than if I'd stuck with my original post-high school plan, which was...well, nothing.

Y A J / February 24, 2006 11:20 AM

I’ve made a number of very good educational, professional and political decisions, but the smartest thing I ever did: marry my husband. The boy drives me nuts AND keeps me sane.

Annie / February 24, 2006 11:20 AM

Getting my Master's degree, and doing it on my own, and doing it by the time I was 27.

aj / February 24, 2006 11:27 AM

Learned to type! I thought it was the silliest high school class ever, but it's probably the most valuable to me in everyday life.

j / February 24, 2006 11:29 AM

This morning I opted for chive cream cheese over plain.

Yesterday I decided not to run to catch my train, rather I waited for the next one and read in the meantime.

A while ago I decided to treat myself to new boots.

The smartest decissions I make are the smallest, for built on these common events are the epic ones.

Naz / February 24, 2006 11:52 AM

I agree with J. It is the little things that mean the most. The big ones are only rememberedm while the small ones are the way we live our lives.

Live smart.

Justin / February 24, 2006 12:15 PM

Killed the weblog. Quit work (held my tongue) and moved to the city without my car, a job, or concrete plans. Accepted invitations. Risked telling her how I felt. Ordered another cookie (molars, I apologize).

Shasta MacNasty / February 24, 2006 12:17 PM

Just like aj, taking typing in high school. I did it my senior year because I knew I would be typing a lot of papers in college. It's one of the only things I learned in high school that I carry to this day...and has actually helped me get jobs.

Also, paying off my student loans in 1999.

George Louis Costanza / February 24, 2006 12:24 PM

I picked the cheapest invitations available for my wedding and…yada yada yada…I am no longer getting married.

lp / February 24, 2006 12:25 PM

getting stranded at club foot something like 4.25 years ago and trusting a stranger and meeting some super amazing people including my bestest friend in the wide world/husband-to-be.

george / February 24, 2006 12:28 PM

I think the thing I've learnt is to trust my gut. Not being someone that breaks crunch the numbers on things, I've usually just done what was instinctively made the most sense.

And the best gut decision so far? Deciding to move to Chicago five years ago.

Baldeesh / February 24, 2006 12:34 PM

Finally listening to the amazing people around me. I know what I'm worth now, and it's far more that I led myself to believe all these years.

amy / February 24, 2006 12:40 PM

I lived without credit cards until I was 28.

Nothing's better than debt-free living.

Brenda / February 24, 2006 12:52 PM

Stop looking. That was right when I found it.

Philip Howard / February 24, 2006 1:00 PM

Declaring bankruptcy seven years ago - at the age of 28. I fell into the credit card cycle. I'll take some blame, but I also "thank" the banking industry's easy credit pushers at the college level. Anyway, despite the shame I did it, and now I'm fine.

Squirmy Shermy / February 24, 2006 1:08 PM

I changed my philosophy from "I don't care" to "What do I care?"*

*Stolen from Sally Brown in Peanuts

eep / February 24, 2006 1:14 PM

I don't think I've ever made some super life-altering decision that completely changed my outlook on everything. I guess so far the best thing I've done is left a job that made me miserable in favor of a new one that makes me not hate waking up in the morning. That certainly doesn't seem all that profound, though. But I guess it doesn't have to be.

Carrie / February 24, 2006 1:15 PM

smartest thing? I'm going to go ahead and say going to therapy. It's probably the best advice my mom ever gave me. I'm much happier, smarter and stronger because of it.

I think that buying my first home just a few weeks ago was a smart decision, too.

SSB / February 24, 2006 1:18 PM

Leaving chicago for southern California.

robin.. / February 24, 2006 1:30 PM

1. took this job.
2. followed former gb staffer j3s' path into effing corporate groceries

waleeta / February 24, 2006 1:35 PM

Finally listening to my mom. She really does know best, dammit.

chewy / February 24, 2006 2:02 PM

Buying a corvette

LoadZone / February 24, 2006 2:10 PM

Following my empty wallet to the city in 2002 and building one hell of a opposed to following my heart to Milwaukee and building what was one hell of a relationship.

I've given up on "love" but trust me, I made the right move.

AllAN / February 24, 2006 2:16 PM

Never using Heroine or having unprotected sex.

Leah / February 24, 2006 2:19 PM

I didn't even think about typing, but it was the MOST valuble class ever in the history of anything. If only I'd also taken check book balancing.

Other smart decisions...

Moving to Chicago
Trying different creative outlets
Becoming a Jew
Buying my condo
Rescuing my cat from a life on the streets.

Al / February 24, 2006 2:27 PM

Concluded that the relationship between energy, mass and the speed of light could be expressed by a simple equation.

emyduck / February 24, 2006 2:30 PM

1. moving to chicago
2. marrying my man
3. going car-free

spiraljetty / February 24, 2006 2:36 PM

Rejecting God.

Andy / February 24, 2006 2:37 PM

I think the next thread should be about the "stupidest" thing you ever did. I feel like those are popping much more readily to mind right now.

Anyway... I would say, recently, a small yet very smart thing was that I finally got glasses. Turns out I was blind as a bat for years and just didn't realize it.

granny / February 24, 2006 2:42 PM

"broke up" with an extremely energy sucking friend of almost 20 years. It took 8 months of no contact on my part for it to stick, and there is still the occasional attempt on her part to resurrect our relationship, but it's not taking.

The most recent death rattle happened just last week when she called and I had to tell her of a death in my family, which she used as a seque into a discussion about her petty problems.

buh- bye!

Lady / February 24, 2006 2:46 PM

getting WARM. leaving forced-air heat for radiator heat, included in my beautifully low rent. what was i thinking, being cold all the time?

being warm has changed my life.
yaaaaay tshirts!

Cinnamon / February 24, 2006 3:09 PM

Learning and relearning to make things with my hands.

Ending a nowhere relationship.

Learning to forgive, includes myself and others.

Going into therapy and really doing all the things I said I wanted to do.

Holding hands with someone under the table almost 10 years ago. That's been the best decision of them all.

Eamon / February 24, 2006 3:23 PM

Married Kay. Hooray!

D / February 24, 2006 3:33 PM

Going to grad school after a fallow period in my life.

It didn't solve all my problems but it did put me on the right career path...and I found my husband along the way at my last job. So here's to higher education!

jml / February 24, 2006 4:12 PM

Realizing that despite the talk of "permanent records", there's really very little in life that can't be undone or changed. That's allowed me to take chances and give odd opportunities a shot without worrying too much.

Besides, you could get run over by a bus tomorrow anyway.

Jessica / February 24, 2006 4:21 PM

Becoming a lesbian.

God / February 24, 2006 4:35 PM

Creating lesbians.

mike / February 24, 2006 5:12 PM

...deciding at 21 to see the pyramids of Egypt instead of settling down with my girlfriend--- and then

pursuing my dreams yo!

christian / February 24, 2006 5:36 PM

Going away to art school in Baltimore after two years of floundering post high school, and subsequently making art I can be proud of.

Listening to my friends about selling the greeting cards I had been making for them.

fluffy / February 24, 2006 5:37 PM

-leaving Texas

- not drinking the lumpy milk

Trudie / February 24, 2006 5:53 PM

Quit my job ... at my exit interview even the company HR person agreed I was right to leave once I explained how I wrongly I was being treated ... by the way, anyone hiring right now?

Jaye / February 24, 2006 6:17 PM

stop working in corporate america - the shackles have been loosed for going on 3 years and i am loving it!!

Veronica / February 24, 2006 6:33 PM

Maybe not the smartest ever, but in recent history - getting over my shyness, going to the Hopleaf a little over a year ago, and meeting some cool people.

tony / February 24, 2006 6:47 PM

The smartest thing I've consciously done was to not fill myself up with bread before the entree was served.

Barring that, it was going to college in NYC over the "safe" option of going to Shampoo-Banana. Dare say I'd be a different person otherwise.

Everything else has been an accident, or inevitable.

jennifer / February 24, 2006 8:10 PM

following through with my plans to move to london instead of being tempted to stay in chicago. turns out the relationship wasn't all that it was cracked up to be and really wasn't what either of us needed.

that being said, my next big decision will be to move away from chicago and everything that is here for me to go to an amazing doctorate program. I know it is the smart thing to do, but I'm already scared about missing this damn city.

Brandy / February 24, 2006 8:49 PM

(Rock on, MikeH, I'm right there with you.)

1. Going out of state to the college of my choice. Therefore, escaping the family while not compromising my education.

2. Finally, for the first time in my life, talking back to my Dad at age 26. It was the last time I talked to him. Life has been much better since. Had I known it would be that simple, I woulda done it long before.

R / February 24, 2006 8:51 PM

Not marrying someone who once asked me.

cynthia / February 24, 2006 10:28 PM

The smartest thing ever was deciding to become a CPS teacher rather than a Chicago cop. I would have been a miserable, alcoholic control freak if I hadn't changed my mind while in the police academy. And worst of all, I would have been a bad mom as well.

Carlotta / February 24, 2006 11:08 PM

Went to Esalen for a week-long seminar in 2000 that rid me of a life-long depression.

Pip / February 25, 2006 6:04 AM

Commiting myself to serious and regular yoga practice! No, really. It's not some shallow Hollywood thing. I've been doing it for six years now. It changed my life and it can change yours too.

bensch / February 25, 2006 11:17 AM

Quitting smoking.

Dumbest thing? Starting in the first place.

CVAL / February 25, 2006 1:52 PM

The smartest thing I've ever done followed the dumbest, most costly thing I've ever done.

In the late 80' I was depressed and vunerable so I was a prime target for this Pentecostal (here comes the profanity) FUCKING cult. I joined this so-called church, dropped the fuck out of college; at their insistance married my girlfriend because they didn't believe in long engagements( was planning marriage after finishing college). I spent my fucking 20's as a dumb-ass, idealistic,sicophant . I waisted 10 years of my life and countless thousands of dollars supporting this piece of shit cult.

Finally, the fucking light switch clicked on at about my twenty-seventh birthday and I told them to go Fuck themselves with a rough-hewn 2x4. I dropped the whore I was married to, who consequently was fucking an old boyfriend, and eventually had his kid (we never had any children together, thank God).

So the smartest thing I've ever done was figuring out that your conscience is the most important part of you intellect, and consequently using said conscience to make choices that I benefit the most from.

Since I dropped that life, I,ve traveled most of the U.S. and six foriegn countries, I've restarted college, I got married to a no-bullshit, sweet-as-honey,MBA , I took control of my life insted of letting others have control and I've thusly has a pretty kick-ass life ever since!

Moon / February 25, 2006 7:18 PM

As a little kid, I learned how to read (age 4). Then I continued to read everything I got my hands on. It's been the one great joy of my life.

Kelly / February 26, 2006 8:48 AM

Now that I think about it, I've done a few smart things:

*Moving to Chicago. It changed my life and somehow, made me a better person.

*Divorcing my husband. It was like a light switched flipped one day and I was like "DOINNNGGG! You mean I don't have to stay and be miserable?"

*Going back to school. Kind of wish I had been smart enough to stay in college the first time around, so I could be like all the other 30-somethings who are dissatisfied with their careers and go back for a Masters, but no, just a BA for me.

*Joining a church. I had always wanted to explore my beliefs, but didn't feel comfortable while I was married...but once I was free, I could do what I liked, and I liked the community and purpose of my (very liberal) church.

Mister C / February 26, 2006 12:44 PM

I'm hoping that my smartest thing is yet to come.

jtrain / February 26, 2006 1:49 PM

I finally, at the age of 34, got a passport.

I've been making good use of it ever since.

anon / February 26, 2006 5:46 PM

I stopped feeling sorry for myself and doing crystal meth every weekend.

And don't you know it, as if by magic, most of my problems went away.

Leelah / February 26, 2006 9:35 PM

I went to London for a semester when I was 20...

Anthony / February 26, 2006 11:14 PM

Study abroad. Changed my life irrevocably.

slb / February 27, 2006 8:57 AM

moved to chicago from urbana. college towns are such petty, alcohol-soaked wastelands.

realized that i am not too old to go back to school - started taking prerequisite classes to apply to med school. i feel a lot better now that i am using my brain again, taking challenging classes.

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