The second time I remember being guided by an inexplicable force, I was a sophomore at UF. I was working at the Brown Derby Restaurant outside of town after having quit the US Naval Academy, and I was living on campus for the summer prior to my junior year. Every night after work, I would drive home via 13th Street, turn into campus by Tigert Hall, cross the campus to the stadium, and turn right up the lane outside of Murphree Hall, where I had a temporary dorm room. That last bit was a one-way street going the wrong way. But I saved about 5 minutes every time I went that way, and the campus is pretty empty during the summer, so I saw no problem with that (even though campus cops can be pretty anal).
One night as I was coming home, however, I felt an uncontrollable urge to drive straigth at Tigert Hall, instead of taking my normal shortcut. I remember struggling with myself over this at the light by Tigert, but I finally forced myself to follow my instincts and go straight. I had often wondered which is better to follow, your head or your heart, so this was an experiment in following my heart.
I took the longer route via University Avenue. I had to wait at the light at University. I had to wait at the light at 18th Street. And then I turned in to Murphree area and followed the parking lot around Murphree Hall toward the stadium to take my normal parking spot. And wouldn’t you know it? There was a campus cop waiting for me right outside my dormroom! I mean, it was like he was waiting for me. He was probably just filling out some paperwork in his car or whatever, but he was perfectly positioned to snag me as I turned up the one way street the wrong way, if I had followed my normal path (and had not followed my instincts).
I couldn’t believe it! Had I taken my normal route, I would have either gotten a ticket, or had an embarrassing conversation with campus police (not likely, given the self-importance of campus cops), or I would have had to turn back and go an even longer route to get to my dormroom than the University Avenue route. I learned an important lesson that day.
Always follow your instincts!
Had I not struggled with the decision at the light, I might not remember it now. But I distinctly remember getting in the left-turn lane at Tigert to take my shortcut, feeling a strong urge to go the other way, questioning it, thinking about it, seriously considering it, and then consciously following that urge to go straight as an experiment.
The results of the experiement have stayed with me forever. I’ve learned to follow my instincts. I’ve learned that my heart is stronger than my head. And I’ve given up questioning my desires. I follow my instincts and see where they lead me. They’ve led me to some amazing places (as you will see).