Do what you want, you’ll be surprised by the results

By: Kevin Thomas ~Copy Editor~

One of the best lessons I’ve learned in my life has made almost every single tour guide and security guard hate me. To put it into an aphorism: “Why not do whatever you want – as long as it’s not damaging another person.” I learned it from one of my best friends, and it has enhanced my life to an immeasurable extent.

So, story time. My friend and I were on a tour in Mammoth Cave National Park. We went on the cheapest tour, which only took you inside the largest part of the cave. There were several areas roped off that led down pathways that looked rather interesting, far more interesting than the largest part of the cave, so my friend told me that we should walk down them. I told him that they were roped off, so we probably shouldn’t, but he ignored me and ducked under the rope while the tour guide wasn’t looking our way and beckoned me to come with him. I nervously weighed my options and then ducked under the rope as well. We had only walked a dozen feet when the tour guide called out to us and said that we weren’t allowed to go there, so we apologized and rejoined the crowd.

Essentially, we were curious, and we did what we wanted to satiate it. We disregarded the rules because they were getting in the way of our learning, and the only bad thing that happened was a mild scolding from a National Park tour guide. We didn’t get arrested or in any serious trouble. Just watched a little more closely.

To clarify what exactly I mean, I’ll tell another story. I was walking around Findley Market with a friend, and we were about to join the middle of a tour because I thought it would be fun to hop in the middle when I saw an open door across the street. A few people were inside, and the building seemed a little barren other than a table in the center of the room and a few pieces of scaffolding. The people were doing something on the walls, putting up wallpaper or something.

So, naturally, I told my friend that we were going to walk in, so we did. It turns out that the place was an art gallery. A local artist named Phil was setting up for an exhibit where he was making a 360-degree map of Cincinnati that he had drawn, and all the people inside were tracing the original onto graphite paper so that it would mark the walls so he could go over the outlines with sharpie. We joined in helping him out for about 30 minutes before getting bored and leaving.

Kevin Thomas is a first-year English and Philosophy double major. He is a copy editor for the Newswire from St. Louis.

The lesson applies to more than just exploring the world. It also applies to essentially everything else. Earlier on in this semester, I decided that I wanted to write a book of poetry and publish it myself.

So, I did.

It took about a month of work to finally finish, but I did it because I said that it was something that I wanted to do. I have since distributed around 150 copies, and several people have come up to me and told me that they want to do something similar, or they want to write more poetry, or they have other projects that they want to do. I always ask them why haven’t they done it and I’ve yet to hear a completely satisfactory answer.

There are so many hours in a day – 24 to be exact. If a person really wants something or wants to do it, they can do it. If you want to start drawing more, why not draw more? Sure, your schedule might be entirely booked and you may feel like there’s no free time, but why not doodle on a napkin or in a notebook while eating? If there’s a door that’s closed somewhere and you start to wonder what’s behind it, why not open it? Most likely, the worst thing that could happen is that you get kicked out or watched a little closer.