I seriously had the week from hell. It was my first work week at the new job transfer. While I expected it to be the hardest and knew feeling lost, confused, and even stupid were inevitable, I still was not comforted by this factual knowledge. I felt I was barely keeping my head above water and fighting off and with foreign aquatic critters in a vast open ocean.
So, when Friday came along, I was so full of gratitude and relief. Best of all, I was slated to meet my previous colleagues who I rather missed. I had been looking forward to reuniting with as many of them as possible. This was going to be the best and most needed relaxed and fun Friday ever.
Well, detours actually ended up happening instead.
Rather than good times with my colleagues to play board games and gorge on food, I spent my past Friday lost for nearly two hours, ending the night de-stressing with take-out Chinese-American fried food and cracking fortune cookies to unveil wishful lucky messages. The starting point was Westchester County. The destination point was Rockland County. Somewhere in between, I ended up lost in New Jersey with a long stretched highway ahead of me, massive trucks humming next to me, and a vast open sky above me. Gripped with apprehension and mistrust of my GPS that led me astray, I tried to stay calm and confident that I would get back home. And, I did. I did not even know how I did it, but, somehow, I found my way back home.
I’ve always been quite terrible with directions. Prior to cell phone days, I had even more “getting lost adventures.” There was the time I was lost in the blackest of nights in the middle of woods trying to find my way back to my parents’ home, only to muster up the innocent courage to get out of my car to knock on complete strangers’ doors to guide me back. Back in 2008, I was lost in the streets of Paris when trying to find Montmarte in rebellion to my relatives for denying me my desire to roam around and explore on my own in Paris. The worst, most favorite, and funniest where I can laugh at myself and freely enjoy everyone laughing with/at me was this: My experiences of getting lost in parking garages.
Mapquest, GPS, Cell Phones, and Hopstop were my best friends, but, even with these tech tools in my hand handy, I was not the brightest bulb when it came to east, west, north, south. In fact, my infamous lines that made everyone chortle aloud when I was challenged to give directions was me widdling down to landmarks along the way to the final destination and only to conclude rather defeated: “Well…ugh….in the end, I guess, uhm…just go straight…”
In just about all my lost ventures, I was alone armed only with determination and fierce faith that I would eventually find my way and figure it out. How fortunate and full of a sigh of relief and weight lifted from shoulders that I always managed to return to my original destination, though I did not make it to my final intended destination. Best of all, in the middle of point A to Point B, I lived to tell the exhilaration of the exploration.
Truthfully, though, I hate getting and feeling lost. I have always been the planner girl. I made goals to achieve. On a strict schedule. Everything laid out of me. No surprises—they scared me. I made a plan, stuck by it, stayed focused, and refused any backward glances of regrets. I avoided any chances and changes that would steer me away for my goal and anything that could pose potential lost and off the beaten path distractions. The road ahead would be long, but it would be my road and I would stay the course. I followed my instructions and rules to reach my goal and destination, unappreciative at and forgetting the unforgiving and painful process that it would take to achieve and succeed my goal and destination. This is typical of all of us: We are so caught up on the result, goal, and destination that we forget the learning and growing processes that are the most vital to us and our lives.
Now, rather oddly and most necessarily, I’m slowly changing. Suddenly, surprises are gifts. Abruptly, exploring and discovering are my cravings that need to be filled. Because, clearly, this is one of the ultimate truths of life: Life never goes according to what we plan.
Life has many meandering lines that veer at their own discretion, resulting in getting very lost. What we foresee and plan out in our minds is not necessarily how they are meant to play out and be. We get so lost and full of confusion, doubts, questions, and these mistakes that must be made that we end up with mumbled and humbled statements of admitting with pure honesty: “I do not know.” Not knowing is often an unsettling, frightening, and even a belittling feeling. Not knowing is also the same as learning. Such vulnerabilities lead to such immense possibilities and opportunities. What vulnerable experiences have you had that you believed was your end, only to lead to such a greatness of beginnings?
I think we are all tourists on this ride of life to enjoy and savor for a limited time only. Along the tour, there are the many detours that unexpectedly intervene for us to not understand in the moment, but reflect in retrospect. Vulnerabilities are vital to eventually figure out what we really want and what we do not want in life—and even when figuring out or thinking that we figure it out, nothing is set in stone.
Life is full of detours and not a final destination. Life does not have with a set of instructions or directions. The hardest is going through the webbed, struggled, and strangled motions with faith and not facts that everything will work out not how you want to, but how it is meant to. Rest assured, you will always find your way.
So, what have you planned in your head that did not happen in your life? So, what have been your detours that have cut into your intended destination? How has your tourist of life been thus far?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,