7:00 AM on a Monday morning. I wrestle with my conscious about whether I should hit snooze for the 7th time or finally drag myself out of bed so I actually have time to do my hair or have a cup of coffee. I decide to sleep a little more. Nine minutes later, I’m up and rushing out the door, rocking million dollar designer bags under my eyes, makeup-less and coffee-less. At least I remembered to put shoes on today and didn’t leave the house in my slippers. I get in my car and start driving the same route I drive every Monday through Friday. Radio blasting, I keep glancing over at the clock, getting anxious that those extra nine minutes have made it physically impossible for me to get to work on time.
I recall my mom asking me what roads I take to get to work, and my response, “I honestly have no idea.” I never look at street signs. I remember the roads I need to take and I sit behind the wheel practically unconscious, only aware of two things: following the path, and reaching my destination.
So, you can imagine what happens when a big black and orange detour sign is staring me in the face: sheer and utter terror. I start panicking. Are you kidding me? I have no idea where the hell I am. Who does construction at 8 in the morning when everyone is going to work? Are these people f*cking crazy? Well, this is just great, I guess I just won’t EVER GET TO WORK TODAY.
But after all the panic and emotional distress, I manage to arrive at work, 15 minutes late. I see my boss sitting at her desk. Timidly I walk over and in a low, apologetic voice I say, “I’m so sorry, there was a detour.” I hold my breath, bracing myself for the chilling and malicious reply.
“It’s okay,” she said. “How was your weekend?”
Why was a detour so detrimental to my morning? A detour is not something to be afraid of or bothered by; it is simply unplanned. I shouldn’t be afraid of something that I can’t control, because fear will not stop it from happening. I was just so used to doing things the same way that taking the indirect way became stressful. Suddenly, I had to begin thinking consciously about where I wanted to end up.
The problem is, inconvenience is stressful. Putting in the extra effort, is nerve-racking. Getting lost is taxing. Doing anything that is not according to the plan is hectic. Relationships? Only if they are easy. Friendships? When I don’t have to go out of my way. Break ups? No thanks, I’ll pass. I would prefer to just have a plan and stick to it, avoiding all the things that send me in a new direction or are a little bit jarring.
As part of my journey, I instinctively decided that I needed to have it all figured out. To set a path, and stick to it. I wanted to find the perfect job, never allowing myself to appreciate the one I have. I wanted to find a person to share my life with, never letting go and allowing myself to drift into uncharted territory: loneliness. Getting off of the path was not something I was prepared to do. I would’ve driven my car and taken that same road every day, even if it was a bumpy one. I was prepared to struggle, get out of bed a little later each morning, and ignore doing all those important things for myself. Instead of waking up each morning and enjoying myself, I felt anxious that I if I did not get to my destination on time, everything would fall apart. I thought if I wasn’t moving forward, I was moving backward. But it’s important to remember when things get hard, you are allowed to let go of the wheel for a minute.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to enjoy the scenery. Pay attention to the street signs and don’t just hit snooze. The boss will understand why you are a little late, your significant other will understand that you are a little slower today and need some extra guidance. Just move at your own pace. If somebody can’t keep up with you or is trying to make you move too fast, take a detour. If you are afraid of getting lost, remember that the things that are the most important are never lost. Things that are meant to be will follow you and things that aren’t will stop and go in another direction. Keep driving. It might take you longer to get there, but you’ll end up in the same place.