FMM 7 31 15 Make a U-Turn
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
I have always joked that a journey is no fun if you don’t have to make at least one or two U-turns. I once had a GPS (navigational system) that spoke to me in a Jamaican accent – well it was way more than just an accent. “You no see seh yu loss” (Don’t you see that you’re lost?) he would ask me. Once he dangerously suggested that I should “cut cross di roundabout”, which could have really damaged my vehicle, if I had followed his advice! But like most GPSs, he would let me know if I had to turn around. The more polite versions calmly tell you to “make the next legal U-turn”. No matter how polite, I always find they get a little snippy if you don’t seem to follow their advice!
Going to the beach from our childhood home in Jamaica was an adventure. The roads were long, winding and very bumpy, and you were never sure you would actually reach your destination before nightfall. When my children first visited Jamaica, and went to stay in the country (real bush, not anything like the city they were used to) they swore there was only one road in Jamaica! But on those long road trips you learn to enjoy the journey, and not get too hung up on the destination. A breakdown or a puncture may derail the whole day’s plan.
Sometimes we follow a direction in life, thinking we know where we are going. Or we follow the same direction long after we should have made a U-turn, or headed in a totally different direction, just because the scenery is familiar, the path well-trodden. Moving yourself out of a rut to try something new requires a major effort. And sometimes it means facing the fact that your first choice is no longer appropriate for the person you have become. Relationships are like that. Sometimes you stay in a relationship, or a job, because it is what you know, because leaving and starting over will mean being uncomfortable; tackling new tasks; making new friends. It may be time to change directions.
At work recently we were provided with some online learning programs. One of them was on managing your work space. For about an hour we listened to a man with an Australian accent show us scenarios and quiz us about our current habits, and try to show us the error of our ways. Declutter your desk! Look at each piece of paper (or email) and ask yourself if you really need it! And then: file it, or discard it, or take action on it, or pass it along. It became a joke in the office, but the lecture worked. Many of us saw ourselves as the poster child for how not to be. We were doing all the things we should not do. Like a patient who has received unfavorable lab results and decides to go on a diet and exercise more, many of us began immediately to clear off the piles of paper that were keeping us bogged down. We filed, we discarded (the poor shredder man had to make two trips to take away our stuff!) we passed along and we took action. Now that we have changed direction, we have to try to maintain, but that’s a different story!
It takes effort to chart a new path, to change direction. Once you have made a decision to do so, it takes discipline to follow it through. It is far easier to fall back into old patterns than make and follow new ones. And in order to see change and growth, you have to persevere. My high school motto is ‘Perstare et Praestare’ which means ‘Persevere and Excel’.
On this Friday morning I hope you are happy on the path you are taking, but unafraid to change directions if necessary. A guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday once said that we are always on the right path, even when we are headed in the wrong direction. For there is always something to learn from every experience.
Have a wonderful weekend family!