Whatever it is that sets your spidey senses tingling, listen.
We all know that feeling: When what we want to do is at odds with what, deep down, we know is right. Sometimes it means breaking up with the best sex you've ever had. Sometimes it means going to the doctor just in case. Sometimes it means not ordering another drink.
And just as much as we all know that feeling, we all kind of hate it.
It's like there's a six-year-old hopped up on sugar in all our brains. It tells us, "Yes! This is awesome! This is the most important thing in the world! I am immortal and I am invincible, and I should definitely move to Prague without any job or social network! I'll learn to speak Czech as I go, and it will be amazing!"
Your gut is different, though. It's millennia of intuition, quietly taking a backseat to the much louder, more belligerent ego. Your gut's like the person thirty-eight comments in on an article about how pomegranate juice cures cancer, who drops a link to Snopes and leaves without saying anything. Your gut knows, somehow, when things are serious, no matter how excited or determined that other voice it.
Your gut knows, even as you list everything you own on Craigslist to pay for your one-way ticket, that this is a terrible plan. What's great, though, is you have time to listen. Your gut will start warning you before it's too late. If you're smart enough to listen, despite really wanting to believe it's wrong.
There have been three times in my life when my own gut feeling was dead right about something and I thought I knew better. The first was when a guy I used to go to school with asked me out. He was gorgeous and brilliant and literally swept me off my feet but something inside me knew it was a bad idea.
Six months later, after suffering horrific emotional and sexual abuse, I had to acknowledge my gut had been right.
The second time, my then-boyfriend felt like he had a pinched nerve in his leg but something about it seemed wrong to me. My gut told me to make him see a doctor but I didn't push it as much as I knew, deep down, I should. A year later, it turned out to be brain cancer.
And the last time, I was pregnant. When I started having contractions, despite never having had them before, my gut told me they weren't normal, that something was wrong. This time, I listened. When I got to the hospital, it turned out my uterus was rupturing — it was tearing apart. If I hadn't listened, I would have died.
Your intuition, your gut, whatever you want to call it, it's there for a reason. Back when we lived in caves, it was there to stop us from drawing in ponds or getting eaten by jaguars. Now, it keeps us from more modern disasters. From paralyzing ourselves jumping into shallow pools. From getting into a car with somebody who might have had too much to drink. From accepting a beverage from a guy with a popped collar.
Whatever it is that sets your spidey senses tingling, listen. Don't question it. Don't dissect it. Tell that screaming voice in your head to chill the f*ck out, and run the other way.