So I’ve made my decision: January will see me enter the world of adult braces.

A lot of people have asked me why, and I think this is an important question for me to understand for myself. I’m not a vain guy, so this is not an appearance issue for me. I do admit that I smile differently than I do if I didn’t have my can-opener tooth, but only if I think about it. Besides, I am a strong believer that if someone wants to hold that against me, they are hardly worth considering as a friend anyway.

So it’s not vanity or for looks, though that is a great benefit.

Health? Well, braces will certainly help with some of the damage I do to my teeth from grinding. The orthodontist also suggested that the work will help broaden my mouth, which will align some of my jaw muscles. There’s a small potential that it could help with some of the chronic head aches and jaw pain I get every now and then. That’s a great benefit, and my health does matter.

But it’s not that either.

Honestly, the reason why is because it’s what I should do.

I went to have an old filling replaced just before Christmas, and I started talking to the receptionist. She’s been there for years, and is someone I often talk to. We’ve watched her have a baby and, most recently, have braces. She’s in the final months of braces, and her teeth are beautiful. There’s just no other way to describe it. On my way out after the filling, I asked her about the braces, and she talked about how happy she was with the results and how great her experience has been.

After about five minutes, she pointedly asked me if I had considered braces. I have, to be honest, and I’ve always dismissed them because… Really… why? Because I was concerned what others would think? Because they would make me uncomfortable? Hmm…. Maybe I am more vain than I thought.

The truth is that as I thought of the dismissals, I could not honestly come up with a real reason. A valid reason that stood the test of the trial. Yes, braces are uncomfortable, but so is a snaggle tooth. One is for 18 months, the other a lifetime. That kind of discomfort simply doesn’t stand the test of time. Same with what others think.

Because she worked for the dentist, she looked up my orthodontic benefit, and she was surprised to see how good it is. It covers adults (uncommon), is higher than normal, and has no deductible.

Then she looked me in the eye, told me to call and ask because what can it hurt, and then handed me the business card to her orthodontist.

I had my free consultation last week, and Courtney and I have been talking on and off about it since then. Money? We can make it work. Timing? Is there ever a time better than now? And also how cool will it be to finish my Masters pretty much the same time I finish with braces? I’m looking at a very new Dave in 18 to 24 months.

And that is all part of the reasoning.

But the real reason is I’m getting very tired of delaying big decisions.

I’m not one to make a life-altering decision without pondering it, analyzing it, pondering it again, setting it on the shelf for six months, pulling it down again and looking again, putting it back on the shelf, and then throwing it away. I just don’t do well making those decisions. At the same time, I do subscribe–and have tested–the idea that the biggest decisions should be made quickly. Not irresponsibly, but quickly.

As I look back over my life, the best things that have happened to me have all come from decisions made quickly. Marriage (a decision I feel into on first sight, although we took two years to get there), having children, and beekeeping come to mind as examples.

At the same time, my biggest regrets are decisions that I’ve delayed and delayed again.

Over the Christmas break, I was cleaning out some old files, and I found an unknown CD I had copied previously. I threw it into the computer just to see what was on it, and I was depressed by one folder sitting right on top: Grad School Application Materials.

It’s a folder I started early 2006. Seven years ago.

If I had simply done grad school then, I would not only be done with it, but I would be five years done. Heck, I could be done with a PhD in that program! But no, instead I’m still sitting on square one.

A blogging buddy I don’t check in with nearly enough chooses a word by which to direct her life each year. This year she recently announced that her word for 2013 is learn.

I’ve just decided what mine is: Go.

I could sit here forever dreaming and scheming but until action follows the dreams, they are merely that.

So that’s why. Because I want to feel what that receptionist felt, because I want to move on long-held choices, and because I’m getting pretty tired of watching dreams stay the things of imaginations, bored minds, and fantasies.


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2 Responses to Braces

  1. Sarah L. says:

    I would probably get braces too if I had the opportunity. My bottom teeth are perfectly straight, so I would only need the top. I’m also terrible at making big decisions! But choosing nothing is still a choice, which bugs.

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