Earlier this week driving to an appointment, I had my GPS on and was following the voice direction as I was unfamiliar with the route. However, along the way I was distracted by my thoughts, and without realising it I was no longer listening to the voice direction, but instead just traveling along in the far left lane I was in, which meant I was now taking the exit off the M1 onto the M80, only to look at my GPS and see that I was supposed to stay on the M1. Aghhh!!!
DANG! those thoughts, distracting me, causing me to lose focus. If only I had kept my focus on listening to the voice direction.
Thankfully, my GPS rerouted me and the voice directed me to get off at the next exit of Boundary Road (State Route 32), then right back on the M80, then back on the M1, which would then have me back on track for my destination. Delayed, but at least back on track!
I did have some options though. I could take an alternative route which was slower by a few minutes, or I could just trust the voice and it’s advice of the fastest reroute. But I was momentarily challenged by what I had seen as I took that wrong exit … the peak hour traffic, bumper to bumper, going in the opposite direction. Surely there’s a faster way. I regretted the distraction all the more. I so did not want to have to move with all that traffic.
With moments to choose, I decided to listen to the voice, hear the voice, trust the voice, and to go with the choice of the voice, back on to the M80. So I joined that bumper to bumper M80 traffic, merging from my far left to the far right to get back on to the M1. Along the way, I saw vehicles moving too fast, while others patiently crawled at the pace set by the traffic.
Looking at the traffic I perceived it was going to take forever to reach my destination, but my GPS calculated only an extra 15 minutes. Could that be true with all that traffic?
In life we can have a plan for a desired destination, and set the direction accordingly, then SOMEHOW, SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY … our thoughts are distracted, and we find ourselves off course. We stopped listening to the voice of direction!
But we CAN get back on track. The voice will reroute us, BUT are we prepared to hear it, to listen to it, and to then make the choice to trust it, and follow it? OR despite what the voice advises, we can choose to look at the circumstances we see, and take one of the optional routes, albeit not the best option. As can be the case with the GPS, we often fear “But what if the voice has got it wrong?” But then on the other hand “What if the voice has got it right?”
Either way there is always going to be ‘traffic’ on the roads of life. Distractions, detours and rerouting are all part of the journey. But at least rerouting after distraction is an option. The original desired destination is not lost. Which ever reroute you choose, you will eventually get there.
While some people move slowly and patiently, others are eager to get to where they want to be, as fast as possible, regardless of the pace of the traffic. I certainly encountered one particularly eager driver very nearly on my bumper, but everyone else let me merge so I could cross … it was the difference between my perceived possible ‘road rage’ behaviour, and extra road courtesies given to me, even though no one knew my journey.
It’s about learning to read the traffic conditions with or without direct communication. It might mean moving slower than we’d like to at times, slowing down to let others merge safely so they can also get back (or keep) their journey on track. The apparent disadvantage to us (in slowing down to let another merge in) on our journey, might just be that which gives a far greater advantage to someone else (not missing their lane or exit) on their journey.
Our encounter of a person’s behavior, is not necessarily true of who they are, it is only an indication of where they are at, in that moment.
Be kind, because everyone you pass on your journey is ‘dealing with stuff’ on their journey, that you know nothing about.
On the journey we need to be less focused on the time lost in distraction and rerouting, and more focused on what is learnt on the journey, and in continuing to pursue the destination we desire.
And in regards to the eternal question “How long will the journey take?”
I’m reminded of a common ‘line’ I encountered in Zambia, a friend might say: “I’ll come by your place to see you tomorrow.” to which I would then ask (so I can be ready) “About what time do you think?” and the answer I had to get used to was:
“When you see me, then you will know I have arrived.”
… and so it is, as frustrating as it may be at times, the journey will take as long as it takes. But you will get there… so don’t give up, but continue to pursue it.