Has google maps ever sent you on the quickest route? But that “quicker route” required you to do 6 u-ey’s and 3 loop-de-loops into approximately 42 lanes of oncoming traffic? As in, it’s definitely going to get you there quicker…assuming you’re not killed in the process…but it may not be the simplest, least stressful route.
Often in my workday (Social Work) I find myself driving to crazy locations and needing some navigational assistance to get there. I don’t always want to follow the specific route google plans, so I may take a side street over to another side street to get back onto the specific path google has laid out. During that time, my google lady is repeatedly saying “make a u-turn”…”make a u-turn”…”make a u-turn”. I find myself saying so often during the work day, “Would you just shut the hell up and reroute already?!” (I say other things in traffic as well, but I’ll leave it at that for now as all of my other “traffic related” sayings are for another entry…another day…another more adult rating. Ha!)
But why is it necessary for us to always follow the directions to a T? Aren’t there always a few different ways to arrive at a specific destination? Some routes are more simple, more direct, more carefree, while others are more stressful, more lengthy, more difficult. You still arrive at the same destination. Right?
I must admit though that different days call for different paths. For instance, if I have only 3 patients for the day, I want to take the path of least resistance, the path that takes me down two lane roads where I can enjoy the scenery through open windows, radio blasting and hair whipping. (And quite possibly the occasional cigarette if the mood strikes, but I swear to God if you tell anyone I’ll deny it. Ha!) But for a day when I really need to see 62 patients, I want the interstate, 26.7 u-ey’s and a couple loop-de-loops to get to each patient in a super quick manner.
But as I ponder trips, routes and destinations, I can’t help but think of the many road trips I’ve taken since I was a child. Some with parents and grandparents, some with my parents and baby brother. As I got older, some with friends, some with the hubby and some with my hubby and kids. (I have a lot of trips under my belt folks because I quite literally always sit on ready.)
But what was most important about all of those trips…the destination or the journey? Some, like my husband, might assume the destination is the highlight. He can literally only see two things on a road trip: point A and point B. Nothing, I repeat, nothing in between those points are important to him…so unimportant that I suspect he would be quick to debate their actual existence. He tends to be a stickler for departure times, arrival times and sticking to the discussed and pre-approved itinerary. Now don’t get me wrong, Disney World is phenomenal, the beach is divine, the mountains so majestic. But the most cherished part to me is the journey itself.
Intentionally driving through small towns off the beaten path just to try a quaint little locally owned restaurant with savory dishes that have never before graced your taste buds. Spending an afternoon walking the streets of a huge city you’re passing through to experience sub-cultures not your own that open your mind to thinking outside your comfortable little box. Gazing through car windows at scenery you’ve seen only in print. Laughing at jokes told by friends to pass the time until the next stop. Ragging whoever missed that last turn while determining whose fault…the navigator or the driver. Singing to the top of your lungs while an old favorite plays on the radio, taking you back in time to some other road trip…another set of shenanigans. And last but not least, the perfection of bladders syncing and all who are along for the ride needing to stop at the same time…the journey.
Make time to intentionally enjoy the moments given; force google maps to chill out and redirect already…it’s simply a must. We are each given one life on this earth. I choose to use each moment to savor the goodness…especially sips of this steaming nighttime cup…or am I cheating and drinking ice cold sweet tea? I’ll let you decide.
Til the next pot…or pitcher. ~paula