Blogapalooza: I Am At My Best When I Listen to My Instincts

Blogapalooza: I Am At My Best When I Listen to My Instincts


Every month ChicagoNow bloggers participate in “Blogapalooz-Hour,” an optional writing exercise in which, at precisely 9 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month, a topic is sent out. Whoever decides to partake must conceive, write and then publish a post exactly one hour later. Today was the first time a Morning Blogapalooz-Hour was held. The topic: “Write about a period or moment in your life when you were at your best.” 

Below is my first attempt at this challenge. 


The call came in just after 2 in the morning.

“Hey, Mom. How are you?”

“Graham? Where are you, honey?”

“I’m hiking Milford. It’s beautiful up here.”

“Are you okay?”

There was a pause.

“Yeah, Mom. I just wanted to hear your voice.”

Later, much later, I learned my son, who was living in New Zealand in 2007, was not okay. Alone, he was shivering in a hikers hut when he called me. A German couple eventually found him just as he’d started to hallucinate from exposure. The mountain hiking gear my son had bought prior to the trip had failed him.

The German couple stayed with my son. Gave him dry blankets and tea. Made sure he was okay to carry on when the storm lifted. They’ll never know how grateful I am.

Why is this an example of the best I’ve ever been? Because, in those moments when he thought he may never be okay again, my son called me. Wanted to hear my voice. And somehow, getting a call at 2 in the morning, triggered something in me as a mother and I answered. Because of the time difference, I might not have otherwise answered. Simply waited until morning to listen to his voice mail. But something told me to answer.

Although Graham never told me at the time the dire situation he was in, I sensed he needed me, though we were thousands of miles apart. It still hurts to remember how close I came to possibly losing him that day. But what it taught me was to listen to my instincts. That is when I am at my best. When I push aside the noise the world wants me to listen to and go with my gut.

Each time I have listened to my instincts, I’ve been better for it. Never regretted it.

I listened to my instincts the night a stranger entered our house and my daughter woke up screaming. It was just the two of us at home. Running to her room, I grabbed her hand, gave her the car keys and told her to lock herself in the car while I called the police. I never saw the stranger but when I was calling the police I heard his footsteps on the stairs. Dropping the phone, I ran to the car with my daughter and drove to the end of the block to wait for the police. Unfortunately, the intruder was never caught. But I shudder to think what might have happened if I’d hesitated. Didn’t believe my daughter and instead gone into the other two darkened bedrooms to try and prove to her it was just a dream.

I listened to my instincts back in 1987 when I felt my purse lighten as I made my way up to the train to Versailles. Turning, I slapped the man behind me on the stairs in the chest and said, “Give me back my wallet.” Sheepishly, he held it out to me and said, “Sorry.” Only later, on the platform, did I tell my ex-husband what had happened. “But you got it back?” he asked, confused.

I sure did.

I listened to my instincts the day I returned to my gym locker and sensed something strange. Immediately, I checked my wallet and saw that two credit cards were missing. I called the companies and found out that while I was working out, someone was putting my card to work up at the mall. In one hour they charged over $1200 on me. But because I had the immediate instinct to call the stores where the charges had been made and asked them if they remembered the person who made them, the thief was caught. She was an employee of the gym. No wonder the charges were at Lady FootLocker and another sports shoe store. The police told me that by the time they would have called the store it was likely the clerk would have forgotten any details about the thief.

Instincts. They are what I rely upon. What make me better when I listen to them.

And keeps me close to the people I love.

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