I've always been sort of compulsively well behaved. I was the kid who always got perfect marks for behavior, who followed the rules, who lectured the other kids when they broke the rules (or even thought about breaking them.) I was the kid who never caved to peer pressure, who was an incredibly judgmental teetotaler until I was almost legal to drink, who never did drugs or anything even remotely close to drugs. I can count on one hand the number of times I played hookie...which is far less than the number of times when I attended all of my classes when I probably should have stayed home because I was so sick. I always pay my bills on time, and I always make good on any loans given me by parents or friends (though I honestly can't remember the last time I asked for one.) I have always been respectful, responsible, and the kind of kid parents always wanted their kid to hang out with and be like, but which no kid ever wanted to be with or even be seen with.
It's not like there was ever much I could do about it. I liked coloring inside the lines. I liked the positive feedback I received for doing the right thing, hated the negative feedback I got for anything wrong, and generally speaking had a strong enough belief in my own awesomeness that I never really had a hard time following through if I thought a certain action was right. I credit this for a lot of the success.
At the same time, though, as I get older I realize that sometimes always wanting to color inside the lines can be a drawback. I am the opposite of a risk taker. I don't like to be put in a position where I might not be able to do many of the things I feel that I, as an adult, am expected to do, and expected to do independently. I tend to make safe choices, and I also tend to take the path of least resistance. I like to be liked and approved of by my peers and superiors, and when I don't meet their standards, I work doubly hard to exceed them...whether or not their standards are in keeping with my own personal goals.
I'm a good kid. I always have been. But sometimes...I wish I were a little less good. I wish I could risk maybe not being able to pay all of my bills one month. (This is an idea that literally gives me heart palpitations.) I wish I could risk not having health insurance, or risk not having a "normal" place to live, or risk maybe not being exactly the sort of person I think everyone wants me to be.
"Well-behaved women seldom make history," or so the saying goes.
I want to make history, and sometimes I get the distinct feeling that behaving myself all the time is just getting me into bigger trouble.