One of the key skills I acquired while studying abroad in Europe is the ability to navigate myself through any city. Any language, any location, any size… I can find my way to a hotel or a train station or anywhere else I might need to be. And no, I did not have an international data plan for my iPhone, so I was not using a GPS. I learned quickly how to follow a good old-fashioned map, how to follow my intuition, and I became a pro at asking for directions.
Now that I am back home in Texas, I find myself in a place where I am lacking direction. I feel like I am wandering just a bit. I wish that my new-found navigational skills translated to being able to navigate my life right now… Sadly, that is just not panning out.
I spoke with my therapist about this conundrum today, and she presented me with one of her fabulous analogies:
Imagine that you are driving across the United States. It’s nighttime, and you find yourself hopelessly lost on a highway you don’t recognize, with nobody around. You pull over, and cry. You wait desperately for someone to drive by and save you.
You’re lost somewhere in the United States. You pull over on the side of the road. You’re a little scared, but you start typing into your GPS and trying to find your way. No signal? You go into the trunk of your car and get out the handy dandy road map you keep for just such emergencies, and you figure out exactly where you are. You get back in the car, and direct yourself back onto the right path.
Right now, in my life, I am asking questions. I am researching careers and fields of study. I cross items off from my seemingly-unending to-do list. I journal. I think.
I need to stop beating myself up about wandering off the beaten track. I am treating myself like the girl crying a puddle into her car floorboards, when in reality, I am the girl with the map and the GPS. It’s only a matter of time before I find my way again, because I keep journeying on.
I see where I am right now as weakness… when, really, it takes great strength to move forward without just throwing up my hands.
Sometimes, we all need to give ourselves more credit!
This week, I’ve been constantly reminded that I am surrounded by wonderful people who support me, and who have fantastic advice for me right now.
My sister gave me the nudge I needed in order to start tackling items in the cloud of to-dos that I was stuck in. A friend let me have my moment of panic, before gently but confidently leading me forward. Another friend reminded me lovingly that I really do have more time to figure things out than I realize.
These people are my map and my GPS… they are my best resources. It takes humility and strength to take direction and to let others lead you. But sometimes, that’s exactly what you need.
I am so thankful to be the girl who journeys onward. And I am even more thankful to be the girl with plenty of handy resources behind her, navigating her through the tough times.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― Douglas Adams