On Not Being Sensible

I think I’m a pretty sensible person.

I don’t wear shoes that will wreck my body and do wear warm coats in winter. I put money in my IRA, pack my lunch, have plan Bs, eat broccoli. I floss.

Being sensible has served me well.

Sometimes.

And sometimes being sensible can stifle me. I’d like to spend the night at the Trapp Family Lodge (that would be The Sound of Music von Trapps). I once wanted a shirt that was so luscious, bright, and expensive. I think it would be wonderful to take a weekday afternoon off and spend it at the museum.

But sensibility comes roaring in saying, “Caitie, be practical! Don’t blow your money, your time on that frivolous stuff.”

I used to believe that voice. And I used to have much less delight.

Sensibility, like its near cousins practicality, rationality, and common sense, is constraint - from overspending, overindulging, overdoing. But taken to extreme, sensibility is constraint from full living. And I’d like to be one of the ones who goes to the grave guilty of having lived too much.

Now, I’m pushing back on sensibility. I bought a polka dot blazer. I allowed myself a few blissful chunks of time off during the work week. I’m seriously considering a trip to Alaska.

Sensibility is good, in moderation. Just like work, Scrabble, and pineapple upside cake are good, in moderation.

Between over-sensibility and over-excess, there is a space of equanimity. We will feel it when we find it. And the feeling will be something like full living.

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Courage BoostsCaitie Whelan