Last summer, I challenged myself. I vowed that every day that I was out with friends I would make one “bad” decision. Decisions that in retrospect would seem horrible. So that summer I climbed roofs, and I jumped off those roofs. I went to the top of trees, and I jumped off those trees. I got my ear pierced, and I skated in the street. That was the best summer of my life.
Before that summer, all I would do was stay inside. I wouldn’t go out because, well, I didn’t have any friends. All I would do was play video games and sleep. Time seemed to mush together. The minutes turned into hours, the hours into days, and the days into blurs. I can’t remember anything worthwhile from those years. I was lost in a limbo state of living but not fully. I had nothing interesting happening to me. No friends to make memories with. No life to enjoy. But slowly, I got friends. I started going out and having fun. I started getting memories and stories. But most importantly I started making bad decisions.
Making bad decisions was ironically the best decision that I’ve ever made. Making bad decisions meant stepping out of my comfort zone and actually facing the world. I made long term decisions without much thought. The biggest of which was trying for the school mascot.
The school needed more participants to run for the school mascot. So, my friend and I decided to run for fun. We wrote the script at 10:30 at night and made jokes about how bad we would be. How irresponsible we were. How we had almost no experience with sports. We presented said script to the whole school, embarrassing both of us. Then we won.
We were now hit with this sudden responsibility of getting into a costume and having to dance for audience pleasure. Something that seems like a nightmare. And I love doing it. It’s the best use of my time I could think of. But I would’ve never thought of it if I didn’t decide to make a very important decision in the span of 3 seconds.
But jumping out of a tree may be the type of a bad idea to avoid. And telling kids to jump out of trees in the first place is probably a bad idea. But bad ideas led me out of the house. Bad decisions let me remember my life. And bad decisions let me become who I am.
With a Perspective, I’m D’Angelo Romero.
D’Angelo Romero is in the eighth grade at Kent Middle School in Kentfield.
Originally published on KQED Perspectives