Losing My Way #sol19
October 1, 2019
One day last week, I decided late in the day to have my GPS help me find the way home. I was at a bookstore in a nearby town and the traffic was heavy. I’m not sure why I programmed home into my GPS. I had driven both to the store and home from there many times over the years, but I sat in the parking lot and asked my technology to virtually show me the way home.
As you may guess, it didn’t go so well. I was tired from… a long day, dehydrated, hungry, tired, talked out. I programmed the GPS to my address and then immediately took a wrong turn. Not to worry, I thought. The GPS will just reconfigure and get me back on track. The GPS did loop me back around, but then either I misunderstood for the second time, the GPS noticed the traffic, or fate was messing with me. I got more and more off track. I would close to a turn or street that was familiar and then the GPS would have me turn off. Was I tired and mishearing? This continued to happen until I knew I was way off track in a further away town nearly an hour away from home. The roads were unfamiliar and this made me more and more hesitant and slow moving. Finally, I called out in the car, I need help. I did need help. I was beginning to be frightened. It was getting later. The roads were busy. I was lost.
Unable to get myself back under control, I called my husband and said, I’m lost. Understanding and caring, he honestly said back, I can’t tell where you are. Does anything look familiar? As he continued to ask me question, my breath regulated. I realized I could figure this out. Eventually, I saw something familiar and I began to navigate with certainty toward home.
During that half an hour drive, I thought about why I was so tired. I thought about why my resources had failed me. I thought about why for those few minutes I had felt like I couldn’t solve my own problem. Then… I overreacted. When I arrived home, my husband and son were worried and glad to see me. They were full of helpful suggestions about how this could be avoided in the future. I’m not sure what they said. I know it was something about using a different navigation, giving myself time, not overbooking, and I believe, something about antioxidants. All extremely well meaning. The truth was, I had been lost coming from somewhere that shouldn’t be difficult. What did it mean?
Perhaps it meant that my head was too full, my body too empty. I tend to think of it as a life lesson. We can get lost in the partially familiar and instead of relying on what we know, look to others to create our reality. These other explain things in their terms, with their understanding. Sometimes it looks familiar, but not enough for us to see the path forward with clarity. We wander around in the weeds for a little while. Then, if we are fortunate, we talk it over, we gain clarity. Then we find our way forward, slowly, a little shaky from the experience.
Ahh, September. So full of overcommitments, dark roads, and unsure steps. Here it is October. Steady as it goes.
While my September has been inconsistent, I write in the community of other writers who graciously accept me when I am lost, every Tuesday. Please read other remarkable writing at Two Writing Teachers.