When I first started driving, I became accustomed to getting lost. I’d lived in the same town for sixteen years, yet I’d never driven anywhere by myself and I’d apparently never paid attention how to get from point A to point B.
I would get lost in areas I frequented regularly growing up, and it was damn scary. My heart raced. I thought I was never going to find my way home, but nonetheless, I always did. It helped that I received a GPS for Christmas the year I started driving by myself.
When I was eighteen, I moved to a new city, and I didn’t know my way around at all. I didn’t know the street names or the neighborhoods. Getting lost became the new norm every time I ventured out by myself. It got to the point that I didn’t want to go out, because I was afraid I’d get lost.
Slowly but surely I’ve learned my way around the city. Heck, I know my way around my current city, where I’ve lived for five and a half years, better than I know my way around the hometown I lived for eighteen and a half years (but it doesn’t help that my hometown has changed drastically since I graduated high school).
It recently occurred me that I have no reason to be afraid of getting lost. In the past, I’ve refrained from taking certain routes because I didn’t know that route, and the thought of taking the wrong turn terrified me. What’s the worst that can happen? I burn a little extra gas than usual, which is bad for the environment, but fortunately gas is a lot cheaper than it was five years ago so I probably won’t break the bank if I take a wrong turn or two.
The drama queen in me feared ending up hours away from home with no idea how to find my way home. That’s never happened, and it’s never happened because I always realize I’m going the wrong direction before I end up in a strange city, and that’s always going to be the case. I’m never going to end up on the other side of the country, because I’m going to realize that something’s not right and I’m going to turn around before it’s too late.
The same concept is true in all aspects of my life. I’ve taken the easy route umpteen million times, for as long as I can remember, because I was afraid of messing up. I chose to go to business school instead of liberal arts school because I didn’t think an English degree would get me far in life. Business school was more practical. Business majors have a greater chance of success than English majors.
How stupid was I? So what if I don’t succeed right away? If I don’t succeed, then I’ll just have to try again. If I don’t make the right turn the first time, I’ll turn around and try again.
I’m no longer afraid of getting lost. There will always be bumps in the road. There will always be wrong turns made.
I can always turn around unless I’m no longer breathing.
If you don’t succeed, try again. (Now I have Aaliyah in my head.)