Dear Dan Advice Column

“Dear Dan, I feel like everything I do lately and every decision I make was somehow the wrong. Can I just ask... What's the dumbest thing you've done lately? Maybe it will make me feel better.”


DAN’S ANSWER: Angie, I know the feeling of trying my best to make all the right decisions and somehow making what seems to be none of the right decisions. Life is tricky business for anyone with a beating heart and half a brain.

As for me, I’ve done all sorts of counterproductive stupid shit I wish I had done differently. To make you feel better, I’ll give you the top three I can think of right off the top of my head…

1. I’m almost a year into a dreadful child support adjustment battle with my kid’s mom. The battle has pushed me past just about every limit you could think of and a couple weeks ago there was just one straw that broke this camel’s back. What is was doesn’t matter. Just know that I… cracked.

I word vomited terrible things all over my ex. I didn’t do it in person, I did it over text where it can be documented and used against me in the upcoming court battle. I attacked her person and tried my best to hurt her the way I felt she had hurt me. I got so tired of trying to be the good guy and I said things that I knew she could never forget.

This one was probably the biggest mistake I’ve made lately.

If I was the judge, I’d be like… “Bro. Not good. You’re screwed now, pork chop.”

If I was her, I’d be like… “Hey, lawyer… Look at this juicy dirt, let’s get the bastard!”

If I was her lawyer, I’d be like… “Wow, he’s a total wanker. Let’s burn him at the stake!”

And while it was really stupid to say some of the things I said, it was even dumber to say anything like that to my kid’s mom at all. While there is heavy contention at the moment, we’re both just doing our best. Battles are just part of divorce. This particular battle will end, but my words won’t be forgotten.

So… Next time I feel the weight of that last straw, I’m just going to silence my phone, go for a hike or something, and figure out how to let it go without saying a single stupid thing.

2. I took out a huge short term business loan for an idea that I thought was a slam dunk. I left home for two months this summer and spent several months prepping for it beforehand.The business… failed.

It didn’t just fail somewhat. It failed colossally.

When I finally came home with my tail between my legs, permanently whimpering and flinching at any new business idea, I had no way to pay the loan back. I had no way to make even a single payment (which is a big monthly payment). Oops.

The business was a mistake, yes. It destroyed my business credit and has bitten me financially. That happens in business. It also wasn’t the real mistake (in my opinion).

To me, the real stupid mistake was that for the first time since my son was born, I gave up a lot of my time with him to go pursue an outside interest.

Money is just money. Summer is our special time. I gave up a huge chunk of my time with my son and ended up with a kid who felt neglected, an imbalance in both of our lives, and no money.

When it was over, I did feel like a failure in business but I felt like an even bigger parenting failure.

Sure, I rationalized it all the way through, but in the end, I really hated that I did that.

Next year I’m just gonna say “eff it all. I’m gonna enjoy every moment with my kid, money be damned.” Then we’ll go do all the summer things we have always done and our world will become right again.

3. Not all stupid moves I make are grand in nature. Sometimes they’re little dumb decisions that have annoying consequences.

Take, for example, my decision just yesterday to leave the dog poop in the yard and hope that the lawn mower would suck it all up and get rid of it for me. The guy who mows my lawn wouldn’t even know what a great service he was doing for me. Except…

It didn’t seem to suck any dog poop up at all, instead I now have about a dozen spots in the lawn where the turds were flattened and are now next to impossible to pick up. What would have taken me five minutes to do will now take all sorts of ridiculous effort.

That wasn’t laziness. That was a decision I consciously made, thinking… Hey this is a smart decision. Why have I not thought of this before?

Yeah. Um. No. Never again.

And that’s life, isn’t it?

We all do our best to get through each and every day. We all make the decisions we hope will make our lives easier or better. We also all have to learn from making poor decisions. There is no escaping it. Next time I simply will make the decision, without a second thought, to pick up the poo. One bad decision yesterday will lead to a better decision tomorrow.

I’m no math genius, but I’m pretty sure it’s mathematically impossible to make every right decision every single time we make one. Get this…

It is estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each and every day. That may seem impossible, but it’s really quite believable when you read the science behind it.

Think about it. 35,000 decisions!

Cut yourself some slack. You’re allowed a few decisions that aren’t 100% perfect or that result in the exact outcome you hope. Just do your best to make as many good decisions as you can each day and that’s always going to be good enough.

Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog

~ Dan Pearce | Single Dad Laughing

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