Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Following your Instincts

Earlier today, I read the question in one of my emails, "Have you ever had a strong intuitive feeling about something, and then ignored it?" and it has got me thinking.

No, I haven't.

Generally, if I get a strong feeling about something, I trust my gut instinct.

For example, many, many years ago, as I drove back from Melbourne to Sydney during the middle of the night, with my children all sleeping in the back seat, and me unable to put the car stereo on too loud with which to keep myself entertained for the ten or so hour journey with no one else to talk to, I had a overwhelming strong sudden urge to play a game of changing lanes (from the left lane to the right one of the two lanes for both direction highway) without hitting any of the raised lumps forming part of the line markers. The urge was so strong, I immediately put my blinker on and darted across to the other lane; my first row of tyres successfully missing the bumps.

But I hadn't even completed the lane change, when my headlights caught the black outline of the biggest wombat I had ever seen.  Its body was higher than the front bonnet of my little hatchback. It was crossing the highway and was in the lane I had almost left.

It took me a few seconds to realise once I successfully passed by (and it was too dark to see in my rear-view mirror), only narrowly missing the massive beast by the narrowest of margins at just how close I had come to having a head-on collision with what would have been like hitting a solid brick wall.

And once I did realise, I then got the shakes, and needed to pull over for a while to calm myself back down, because I was on a deserted highway. We would have been wiped out, if I hadn't decided to play that game!

And with that horrible thought came follow on realisations: I hadn't passed another car or truck going in the opposite direction for nearly half an hour.  So I took mental note, and once I got back driving, I soon realised just how lucky I had listened to my urge to change lanes: I didn't pass another vehicle for another hour;  I wasn't following any taillights in the distance (not that that would of been any help) and I was fairly certain there wasn't anyone travelling in the far distance behind me, because I never caught sight of headlights as I crossed through peaks and valleys.

So, no, that lesson when I was in my early twenties taught me to always trust my instincts.  If  it had something to say, suggested that something wasn't quite right, then I usually go with that feeling.

I've experienced lesser feelings many times since that drive where we all got home safely and without any further scares or incidents, and I am glad I have never experienced anything as strong as that feeling that night. And in some of those lesser ones I have ignored my instincts and later regretted my having done so.

Anyway, I found it appropriate as today's post because in the story I am currently writing, my main character doesn't pay as strong attention to her strong instincts, and that is going to cause her a bit of hassle to have to deal with.

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