Remember that time that you went into your sister’s room and “borrowed” her cool clothes from The Limited after she expressly told you that no, you could not “steal” her clothes and you would be forever and completely socially banished if you did so?

And remember when you did it anyway because—”whatever—no big deal!”  And then you realized she got home from school first and you didn’t have time to meticulously hang the clothes back up in her closet before she noticed because she opened the freakin’ front door and the resounding thought running through your head was aptly “Oh God, what have I done?”

Run-on sentences aside, there is no questioning that when you take a big risk, there are two oscillating vibes that come along for the ride:

NO BIG DEAL!
and
OH GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE.

It’s actually comical, how routinely these two feeling thoughts travel together.

Consider the reply-all bungle. It was an innocent email to a coworker consisting of a completely politically incorrect joke that wasn’t even funny about the new boss—NO BIG DEAL! Smash cut to shuddersome feelings of shame and embarrassment. OH GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE.

Consider the drunken hook-up. Five seven & sevens in and all of a sudden that guy you find offensive on multiple levels including his man bun, he’s not so bad! NO BIG DEAL! Smash cut to shuddersome feelings of shame and embarrassment. OH GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE.

In both of these instances, the NBD/OGWHID phenomenon is our brain’s way of teaching us a lesson: Please, please don’t do that again. It’s our brain trying to help us remember the horror forever by encouraging a feeling state of dread because you just plain messed up. Hey, we’re human. Messing up is part of the deal. Thank GOD, it’s not just YOU and ME that messes up. It’s everyone.

No one is perfect.

Except for maybe Kelly MacDonald. She is delightful in every way.

I’m someone who takes on big projects on a regular basis. I can’t help it, I think big so I play big. If someone says “go big or go home” one more time, my eyes are going to roll into the back of my head. Forever. But honestly,  that’s pretty much the philosophy.

To fully immerse myself in any endeavor that requires copious amounts of time and energy (things that are to me, of limited quantity and high demand) it’s a risk. I’m risking my precious life moments—moments I’m taking away from [fill in the blank here—family, friends, exercise, sleep, Game of Thrones].

By risking the output of my time and energy, I’m investing in whatever it is I’m attempting to create. The ebb and flow of riding this wave of creativity can be described to a T, as NO BIG DEAL!/OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE.

Consider the paddle board. A safe, fiberglass oasis of balance and safety. The gentler, sweet-tempered cousin of the surfboard.

Then how come every time I’m out on the paddleboard there is nothing between “Oh wow, this is so nice!” and “I’ve gone way too f-ing far.”

When I finally get back to shore I feel like I did something. I finished something. I went somewhere. All in an hour and a half! Paddleboarding rocks! Everyone go paddleboarding!

You see, NBD/OGWHID is not only your backhandedly benevolent adjutor. It’s a clue that you’re doing something big. That YOU. ARE. BIG.

Surf the wave of the unknown (or paddle on it) and know that what follows on the heals of your OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE, is almost certainly a BIG DEAL.