Rerouting… Please Wait

map girl

I’ve often said that when God was handing out internal compasses, I was either talking to my neighbor or fluffing my hair. As in, I missed out. I didn’t get one. I’ve always had a less than accurate sense of direction, and that’s being nice. Since the advent of GPS, this has mattered far less. I actually don’t know what I would do without it.

Or where I would be.

[LOST]

But even with GPS, there are plenty of times I take a wrong turn. Miss the right turn. Accidentally head in the opposite direction. And as you know, when this happens, my GPS girl (that’s right- my GPS voice is a girl. I don’t need another man telling me what to do {wink})–very calmly tells me she’s rerouting me– Making an allowance for my mistake and course correcting so I can still reach my destination.

This happens to me so often that I’m totally unphased by it and so are my kids and anyone else who rides with me. Gotta turn around? No big deal. Need to make a U-Turn? No problem. Tra la la…


Side Story: Many years ago before GPS, I was on my first long, solo road trip with my kids. You know, back when you had to use a map (what am I Lewis and Clark???) to find your way. At some point I made a very wrong turn, became very lost and very off course. So off course, in fact, we had to spend the night in a hotel and start for home again the next day. Because my kids were watching me, I pretended to be TOTALLY BREEZY about it. NO BIG DEAL! Slumber party in a hotel! WHAT AN ADVENTURE! We’re making memories! GAH. But it was a good lesson for me AND them: It really wasn’t a big deal and we really were okay. Delayed? Yes. Safe and sound though? Also yes. My dad always says if you carry money in your pocket and speak the English language, you’ll be fine, which has always felt sorta true. Not for everything, but a lot of things…like getting lost.


In the past few years, we’ve started using the phrase “Course Correcting” a lot in our home. I’ve got pretty much adult children facing a lot of serious decisions all the time. Decisions that could potentially start to chart the course of their lives or at least the next few chapters. And sometimes, they find these decisions scary. And paralyzing. Of course they do– they’re a big deal! But what I want them to understand is the ability to course correct. The ability to change direction mid-stream. The understanding that there are very rarely massive mistakes that can’t be undone. Turns out it takes a lot to ruin your life, and things like choosing a college, or a career path, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a paint color don’t fall into that bucket.

Are there reckless, poor decisions that ARE massive mistakes, with potential damage that cannot be undone? OF COURSE there are. But even then– maybe ESPECIALLY then, there is space for course correcting.Β 

map

So what if you choose the wrong school? You transfer. Transferring does not mean you failed or made a mistake. Transferring means you figured out what you don’t like and what you might prefer. So what if you choose a career path that no longer feels right? Course correct and pick a new one.Β  So what if you decide the relationship you’re in is no longer a good fit for you? You’re allowed to change your mind and move on. It’s not indicative of failure. It’s indicative of growth and a well-examined life. Giving yourself permission to course correct as a way of life makes decisions much less scary. Nothing has to be permanent. Choice and change are always an option. You don’t have to be stuck or trapped or scared.

Rerouting is part of life. Changing direction is admirable. And not all who wander are lost- sometimes they’re actually just finding the path they were always meant to be on.

 

 

 

Just Do It.

I’m a new runner. By new, I mean I’ve been at it for about 3 months. I’ve gone through running phases in the past, so it’s not like I’ve never done it before, but this time it’s sticking. I know some of you hate me right now and I get it. Really. Because I’ve always sort of hated people who were runners. Like it was this secret club of these virtuous super heroes that had the mental and physical toughness it takes to knock off a few miles. But really, all it took was a decision. That’s it. There was no thunder and lightning, no voice of God, no waking up and suddenly feeling like it was in me. I just decided to do it. And then I did.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s hard. It does take mental and physical toughness. It does take discipline. And despite the clichΓ© that says the first step is always the hardest, it’s not. Are you kidding? I still feel like a rock star at the first step. What’s hardest for me is the first mile. The whole first mile I’m thinking, “This is kind of sucky. My legs hurt already. How could my legs hurt already? I’m still on my street. I can’t do this today. Maybe I should just stop right now and walk. People are still sleeping and I could be too.” But call it pride, or stubbornness (or wanting to eat something fabulous later), but something suddenly starts to kick in and I keep going. I find my groove. My breathing evens out and I’m soaring.

Okay. Soaring is dramatic. And truthfully, I can’t really say if I’ve ever experienced “Runner’s High”. Runner’s Hell? Yes. Been there. Many times. But man, when I finish a run, I could cry. And admittedly, the first time I finished 5 miles, I did cry. I was just so stinking proud of myself. Because I don’t see myself as a runner. But I am a runner now. And the only thing it took to become one was to run. And I did it. And I’m still doing it. For me, it’s a reason to celebrate.

I hope you’re starting to catch a little of what I’m getting at. It’s not about the running. Well, it is for me. But what is it for you? What is it for you that feels just out of reach? Like you want it, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s ever really going to happen? Well let me tell you, it won’t happen by magic. It will happen when you decide you want it to. When you make a decision. When you take the first step and then stick it out for the first mile and then some. A year ago I only wanted a blog. But I’m not an author. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I like to write. So do a lot of people. But one day it clicked– If there are millions of blogs out there, why can’t one of them be mine? Why couldn’t I have one too? The answer was, I could. As soon as I decided to write one. That’s the day I got one.

Sure, the bigger picture is humbling. I may never run a marathon or publish a book. But this year on Thanksgiving morning I’ll be running my first 5-mile race through the streets of Buffalo, getting me one step closer. And every time I decide to write a blog post or make notes for my “someday book”, I’m choosing my future. The only person responsible for your life is you. Go do something about it.