One of my greatest (but not so marketable) skills is my singular talent for getting lost. It takes a special type of person to be unable to follow GPS navigation. Or walk down a path straight into a meadow (I thought I was supposed to turn!). Or, in one of my more epic (and frequently recounted) displays of complete lack of common sense, wander around downtown Rotorua in New Zealand for 2 hours. With a map. On a grid system. I don’t know how that happened. But I will continue to confidently go in the wrong direction because I don’t know how not to!
Getting lost and being lost are never the problem, though. Upon finding myself lost, the problem is my absolute certainty that I know which direction to go to become un-lost. With a destination and timeline firmly in mind, it becomes urgent that I immediately remedy the situation. Of course, having gotten myself into a Bermuda triangle in the first place, I am clearly (not) the best person for getting myself out of there and back on track.
This insistence that I find a way out, and find it immediately, is what gets me really lost and occasionally frustrated. Realizing that I am yet again not in the location I was planning to be can occasionally feel disappointing. Frustration begets more frustration, certainty as to how to get un-lost begets more lostness. The cycle has yet to vary.
However, I have noticed that every once in a while, when time restraints are not so pressing, getting lost sometimes comes with a sense of acceptance that, at the current moment, nothing matters more than being present where I am. I have especially noticed this when I am watching a dog that belongs to someone else and have ample amounts of time to wander through the forest in town with nothing more to do than walk the dog and enjoy the journey. I occasionally stumble onto trails of which I am particularly fond, and when I try to recreate the path the next day, I inevitably end up on a different route. Rather than feel frustrated and attempt to over-correct for my terrible sense of navigation, I remember that one way or another I will end up back where I started. Even though I would prefer to go “one” way, this new and different path happens to be “another” way to go.
Now if only I could apply that acceptance, presence, and learning to other areas of my life. But that’s an entirely different blog post. For the time being, I will just continue to build at least 5 minutes into every commute to compensate for unavoidable detours and scenic routes.