Do you ever wonder if you’re on the right road of your life? If this is or has been your experience, how did you manage yourself?
A friend and I took a road trip using her GPS to get us from New York City to Louisiana. We wanted to beat the anticipated July Fourth traffic, so left Thursday evening and drove until we stopped for the night.
The next morning we continued on the interstate highway marked as West. At 1:30 we’d been driving in the beautiful state of Virginia for a while and decided to stop for lunch. Afterwards, we got back in the car and the GPS directed us onto Highway 81 South. We immediately entered a Twilight Zone experience: No evidence of the west highway sign was anywhere and the highway looked completely different. We kept driving, trusting the GPS, though my friend re-entered the destination at each stop we made.
My friend’s boyfriend called and asked where we were.
“We’re on Highway 81 South in Virginia,” she told him.
“Aren’t you supposed to be going west?” he asked.
“I’m following the GPS,” she replied.
He called several times to see where we were, and each time my friend’s answer was the same: “We’re still in Virginia on 81 South,” and he’d exclaim, “You’re still in Virginia?!” He was genuinely concerned we were on the wrong road. My friend and I joked that if we were on the wrong road, all we had to do was go south until we hit Florida, then turn right. Her boyfriend confirmed we were on the right road (from his computer), though we didn’t cross the Virginia state line until 9:30 that night.
During that Virginia segment, we exited 81 South to get gas and refreshments. This exit turned out to be one that doesn’t tell you, until you’re off the highway, that the gas station is a several-mile trip—in our case, three miles back north. The GPS repeatedly said: “Recalculating,” giving directions for how to get back on the highway. My friend was not happy, initially, that we were going “backwards,” but we decided to make a joke of it and to take only exits obviously right off the highway.
Life is similar to a road trip, and we discussed this to some extent as we traveled.
Road Trip: You have a starting point and a destination, with a number of pauses along the way.
Life: You can only start from where you are, and it’s important to have a desired goal so you know where you want to go. For some this is an overall goal; others are better served by the next goal then the next. You may pause along the way to have a certain experience then get back on track.
Road Trip: You use a vehicle.
Life: Your skills, talents, and willingness to learn act as your vehicle to get you where you want to go.
Road Trip: You use an atlas or a GPS for guidance.
Life: You are blessed with intuition or gut feelings (whether you use this or not) and ability to reassess. People who listen to their intuition will tell you it’s always right, whereas ego-based logic is often faulty and not necessarily connected to what’s appropriate for you.
Road Trip: You need to periodically refuel your vehicle and yourself.
Life: You must feed your body and mind in ways that help you maintain momentum and fulfillment. You must rest to recharge.
Road Trip: You need to periodically visit a restroom and toss out any trash that accumulates.
Life: You have to eliminate what is no longer needed or no longer serves you (or never did) and keep your body, mind, emotions, spirit, and environment as uncluttered as you can so your journey is more comfortable. No one is at their best with a cluttered life.
Road Trip: Traveling with the right companion(s) makes any journey better.
Life: Appropriate others matter. We all need others, and we can accomplish far more when we connect with people who are heading in the same direction we are.
Road Trip: Take appropriate exits so you avoid back-tracking, which adds miles and time to your travels (though, you can turn this experience in your favor).
Life: You have a choice, and using your intuition will guide you. If you find you take a detour from your path and purpose, you can always get back on the right road.
Road Trip: Some roads are longer than you thought they would or should be.
Life: Relax and trust that any and every path you travel has a purpose and is therefore a “right” road for you—if you make it so. You want to keep this in mind, particularly when a progress segment seems to take longer than you or others think it should.
Road Trip: Find the positives and the humor. In our case we had perfect weather, light traffic for a major holiday weekend, and gorgeous scenery. We made light of whatever came up and found reasons to laugh.
Life: Use positive statements to support yourself along the way. Laugh rather than take so much too seriously. Appreciate what you see and discover. Our egos tend to get anxious when we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. Tune in to the explorer and adventurer inside you.
My friend and I agreed to create a code to use whenever we feel unsure about our personal journeys: “I’m on 81 South.” (Everything seems unfamiliar. I’m not certain this is the right road; and this segment seems to be taking longer than anticipated.)
Despite appearances and opinions, it was the road that got us where we were going. Keep this in mind when you feel you’re on your true path and others doubt or question that you know what you’re doing. Reassess your true direction as needed.
You are what you practice.
© 2010, Joyce Shafer