Tag: meandering

Jan 17

Get Lost!

I have a special talent and, that’s right, I’m here to brag about it. I get lost. Often and well.

If I were a superhero, one of my super powers would be (*cue big, echo-y announcer voice*): Getting Lost. If honorary doctorates were awarded for “Taking the path less traveled–by accident,” I’d have at least three. If, at the pearly gates, awards are given…

Um, where was I? Sorry, lost my train of thought.

My special gift can turn even the most casual Sunday drive into an adrenaline-charged adventure. How? Easy peasy: I tend to believe I’m lost even before I’m lost, so I panic and turn off prematurely. Plus, there’s my bad sense of direction, for which I blame my “gatherer” foremothers. (They stuck close to the home fires while my “hunter” forefathers were off exploring, honing their spatial awareness). There’s this, too: I have an underlying suspicion that roads sharing the same name. The Willow Streets, for example, are bound to connect at some point, even if it’s in a dimension beyond my current level of perception. I can’t help thinking, if I try out my theory this time, I might stumble upon that interdimensional link. It will prove I’ve never actually been lost, but simply needed to keep going.

Let’s not forget my “backroads” habit, either:

Why not get a GPS? you might be wondering. Oh, I have one. It doesn’t always work…and even when it does work, it isn’t always a match for my “lost” talents. Super power, remember?

I’ve learned to build “Getting Lost Time” into my commute, which helps, but my special abilities don’t only apply to driving. They’re potent enough to carry over into my life, as a whole.

I confess–without hesitation–that I’ve always admired the type of people who seem to know, from childhood on, exactly what they want to do with their lives. They set their sights on their goal and keep to their path. After all, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.* Right? I wouldn’t know.

There are those on-course people…and then there’s me. I take the scenic route, and as the idiom implies, I’ve seen quite a bit along the way.

Which brings me (in my own, meandering method) to the point I’m trying to make: getting lost isn’t always a bad thing. Sure, taking the twisty, tangled, serpentine route can definitely slow your overall progress, and running into dead ends is no fun, but getting lost also means you experience a lot of scenery you might have otherwise missed. I live in a fairly beautiful area of the country (Southern Chester County, PA, aka Wyeth Country), and I’ve seen some of my favorite farms and barns and landscapes while DWL (that’s Driving While Lost, for the uninitiated).

The same can be said of my life. I can’t seem to do things the easy way, but it does add interest–in fact, take some of my interests as an example: I love writing, but there are eleventy million writers out there, so good luck making a livable living. I enjoy editing, but there’s no certifying body in the U.S. and there are eleventy billion fiction editors out there, so again: a challenging career to build. I’m fascinated by herbalism, but technically it’s illegal to practice in the United States…so, yup, another slight hitch. Maybe my next turn should be a hard right that takes me across the Pond? Who knows, but it’s a pretty safe bet that I’ll get lost along the way.

Speaking of turns, there’s a theory that each time you make a choice, an alternate reality unspools like a ribbon, heading along the path you didn’t select. There could be an infinite number of “you”s living an infinite number of alternate lives, depending upon how many decisions you’ve made in your life. Given that my life has been somewhat roundabout and rambling, I’d guess my jumble of alternate selves might stretch infinity to its infinite limits. Yet, with all those options, surely there would be at least one “me” who has it all together. What would it be like to meet her? I shudder to think.

Though she might be impressive, I can’t help suspecting Together Girl would have missed a lot of the things I’ve experienced–some good, some bad–along her straight and narrow way. I can say this much for sure: I wouldn’t trade my life for any part of her path that didn’t lead me directly to my kids. I’ve made my share of wrong turns, but none involve becoming a mom to my three.

What about you? Are you one of those fortunate people with a good sense of direction–on the road or in life? Are you one of those equally, but alternately fortunate people who takes the path less traveled…and then the one less traveled than that…and then the one even less traveled? If so, maybe we’ll meet at a crossroads somewhere out there. It would be nice to take in a bit of the scenery together.

Image via pixabay/Logga Wiggler

*Archimedes said the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, although from what I hear, mathematicians have a slightly different take on it. I’d rather not explore that…bound to get me lost again.