Life is a series of roads. Some we take, some we avoid, and some we get stuck on. Recently I guess you could say I’ve gotten stuck, a little lost if you will. And while I feel like this blog may be a little more for me than anyone else, a way for me to remind myself that I’ll be just fine – maybe it’s something someone else has to see too.
As I say frequently, my life is full of ironic, crazy, what just happened moments, rolled in with comedic events that I almost wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t happening to me. That being said, it’s no real surprise that the route I originally plan on taking sometimes has road blocks. Without going into detail, that’s what I’m dealing with now. And as I deal with the struggle of being a little lost, I’ve tried to come up with some positive affirmations for myself, and some silver linings that I could turn into words to maybe help someone else. I’ve realized that getting lost in life, is a lot like getting lost on a road trip; and the way to go about getting to your destination is actually pretty similar.
So, without harping on my issues – here is my definitive guide for what to do when you get lost on a road trip, or in life.
Let yourself freak out. I don’t know about you, but when I get lost (sometimes while even using a GPS), I get pissed. You set out a route to get to a set destination and you planned on getting there in the amount of time that was projected for you, taking into account possible traffic jams, construction, and general delays. The idea of going through all of that and then not being able to execute it can result in a huff and puff attitude, but rather than try to go from angry to a ray of sunshine – take a moment and be pissed. Let out one good “what the *beep*” and then ready yourself to regroup. You can’t regroup if you are on the verge of a freak out, so just give yourself the freak out moment.
Realize there are several roads to get to the same destination. Even though you memorized the directions that you set up, those directions are not the only way to your location. Sometimes the way you think you should go is really a road full of potholes and bumps that could damage your tires. So be open to a potential detour.
Pull over at a rest stop. We are all guilty of rushing to get somewhere. Whether it’s because you’re perpetually late to everything, trying to beat rush hour, or hoping to get somewhere before someone else – we always have an eye on the clock. As humans, we just naturally rush through a day, we rush through a moment. We get caught up in trying to document everything through social media that we never take a second to actually be in the moment and take our feelings into account. Being lost and trying to figure out where to turn by using a “you are here” map in your head is scary. Relying on the voice of your GPS to say whether you missed the street or not can be nerve wracking. Allow yourself to be scared, acknowledge the fact that you’re putting your trust into a machine. Once you regroup, that’s when you can actually reroute and refocus.
Check your gas tank. I have a fear of running out of gas. It’s rare that I let my gas tank get close to or under a quarter of a tank full. When I first got my car, my grandfather told me that it’s better for your engine if you don’t let your gas tank get to fully empty. The same is true for our mental gas tank. We can’t let our gas tanks reach empty and expect to have the steam to move forward in the time we expect. Eventually something’s gotta give, and it will. So keep an eye on your gas tank, and take the time to refill. Keep an eye on your mental state, and take time to balance. In both situations, it’s something that will never go to waste.
Roll the windows down and turn the music up. Whenever I know I’m going to be in the car for a long amount of time, I make sure that I’ve set up an upbeat playlist. Music influences your mood, and I make sure that the music I have on a long car ride is music that makes me want to do nothing but sing along at the top of my lungs. When I’m feeling down, sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the sad song playing on three different radio stations; but that’s when you have to roll down the windows. Get the breeze right in your face as a wake up call. It’s easy to be sad, and it does take work to be happy and optimistic; but when you’re happy and singing, you’re letting in positive energy, and over time it becomes easier to be happy. Singing loudly will become natural, even if your singing voice may not be.
Admire the view. Understand that your original route may have had a beautiful view, but that you may not have seen it because you were so focused on following the directions. When you’re lost, you have to truly look around. Your senses are heightened through your natural survival mode being turned on. So while you’re looking at every road sign, don’t just look – take time to see. Maybe you won’t see breathtaking landscapes, but maybe you’ll see something else that acts as inspiration. Maybe it’ll be in the form of a young child playing in their front yard who has the zest for life that you may have lost over the years. Maybe it’ll be in seeing someone struggling, putting your life back into perspective and reminding you that you don’t really have it that bad. Or maybe it’ll be in seeing the single white feather fall in front of your windshield, confirming that there are higher powers that will always make sure you get to your destination safely and at the right time.
Most importantly, always keep driving. Eventually every side street leads to a main road, and every main road allows another outlet to your location. But if you turn around every time you get lost, you’ll never know all the intersections that open your mind to new connections. So just keep pressing on steadfastly.
Once we let go of the notion that we have to know exactly where we’re going and exactly which roads to take to get there; that’s when we’ll finally hear the words, “You’ve reached your destination.”