“If I were a magician, I’d hand out broken compasses. It’s all about misdirection.
― Jarod Kintz,
I put myself through college, can whip out a mean algebraic equation and have held my own with Alex on Jeopardy.
All of the education and a fancy job still doesn’t fix the fact that on most days I can’t find my way out of paper bag even with openings on both ends.
Let me elaborate.
It’s 1:26 on Friday afternoon and I’m tucked in a corner somewhere in the middle of the gorgeous Gaylord Texan Hotel and Resort. I’m here with about 2000 other professionals
strangers getting the inside scoop on this country’s healthcare landscape (Hint: it’s not pretty!)
I could say that I’m hiding from the hoards of strangers and you’d believe it because I’ve hinted at my introverted tendencies before. Even though proactively making small talk with people I don’t know makes my tummy do somersaults, it’s not why I’m sitting in the corner.
The real reason I’m tucked in here is because, for the 7th time since arriving yesterday, I’m lost. AGAIN!
With seas of rooms that boast big Texas names like Grapevine, Lonestar and Restroom, I find myself lost and swimming in a sea of awkward with not a thing to wear (Gremlins apparently got into my suitcase and packed clothing from the much coveted HoboWear line.)
Don’t worry. I’ll find my way soon–I have a map and a big mark that says “You are here.” How difficult could it be?
Apparently, harder for me than most.
I wish that this was the first time I was completely clueless in a new place, but it’s the norm rather than the exception. When we travel together, my husband lets me exit the hotel room first. Not cuz he’s a gentleman, but because he can’t wait to see which way I’m going to turn to get to the elevator we’ve already been on a bazillion times. I tend to zig instead of zag and tuck when I should have rolled.
I’m easily flustered, directionally challenged and there’s no known cure. It wouldn’t be so bad except that my job requires me to be in dozens of different cities, hotels, convention centers and airports. In fact, I have to park in the same spot (row 22 tower 2 on level 2) when I fly out of KC because I get the trips mixed up and have spent way too much time looking for my car. I’ve gotten lost running in downtown Dallas and led my own daughter underneath a scary bridge in Chicago because I picked the wrong landmark building on the walk back from Lakeshore Drive.
How can a person always be so lost?!
I get my rights and lefts mixed up and North and South only make sense after I’ve calibrated the surroundings with my childhood home (hills to the East and plains to the West). Once, while working in Denver, I drove over an hour looking for I-70 West amidst a bucket of frustrated tears and exhaustion.
I called my husband and said, “I know you can’t help me, but just talk to me. I need to go West, I don’t know where I’m at and it’s too dark to see the mountains. If I could find the mountains, I could find the interstate.” After making fun of me, he comforted me and said, “You need to keep a compass with you.”
He was so right! I knew where I wanted to go, I just didn’t know how to get there. Surely there’s a good metaphor for life here, right?
Ah…you know me too well. Of COURSE there is! Lots of them.
First of all, I’ve accepted and embraced the fact that I’m directionally challenged and awkward–in travel AND life. I don’t freak out anymore when I get lost because I’ve learned to leave early, drop breadcrumbs and appreciate the detours and wrong turns that have led me to adventures I would have never discovered had I arrived as originally planned.
Landmarks guide me back to where I started and a compass takes me to the right spot to begin with.
However, a compass only works if it’s calibrated. In life, do we use our heart or head as the calibration marker? That’s the mechanical question I’ve toyed with ever since I was younger.
As someone with the soul of writer, you’d automatically assume that I follow my heart, right? Fortunately, my lack of direction didn’t trump common sense. Had I made every decision with my heart, I would have ended up in a cute VW bus with big daisies painted on the side selling produce and patchouli on the side of road. Romantic, but not practical.
In truth, daily decisions are made with my head and bigger decisions are made with my heart.
My head chose science over journalism and my heart led me down the highway (literally) to my future husband. Both good decisions, but made with completely different perspectives and compasses.
We all have that internal dial that leads us to our core values, directs life decisions and sets priorities.
This is just a preamble to communicate what you’ll be seeing (or not seeing) on the MamaMick pages to come in the next few weeks. Day job has me working an insane amount of hours and it looks like more states are being added in addition to the seven I already cover.
I won’t unpack my suitcase until May.
My sensible compass tells me to walk away for a bit, go on a blogging vacay and come back when life isn’t so busy. My heart arrow says life will always be busy and writing is what I love to do so just keep doing it.
Whenever I get jumbly and overwhelmed on the inside, I find that slowing down, focusing on others rather than whining about myself gives me renewed energy and focus. For my blogger buds: I’ll be spending the next month reading and commenting on YOUR blogs rather than writing in my own. I want to read your words, get to know you better all while being inspired. As I’m collecting and learning, I’ll continue to hang out with Christy and Jennie at RoS and help with the Six Songs series and Braveheart Chronicles.
For the friends and family who read my ramblings, when I’m home, I’ll spend more time with you than my laptop. I’ll cook meals, bake cookies, help with homework, plant the garden and give away my tomato plants (uh, there are 60 seedlings and I only have room for 8!)
I’ll also be working on a travel series planned to span a period of 4-5 weeks in a row that will use music, photos and words to illustrate the Heartland like you’ve never seen it. Here are the five proposed chapters–my head is already full of the photos that I’m going to take and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Life is a Highway
Every day is a winding road
Long Trip Alone
Please don’t worry if you don’t see me as often in the next few weeks. I’m happy, blessed and staying out of trouble. I may pop in to drop a video, a few pics on my photography site and provide music while you wait. Unless life drastically changes and provides me with a clone, you’ll not be hearing much until my series is ready to launch next month.
Until then, I’ll still see you around. I’ll be reading and engaging on your sites and favoriting your tweets. I know the map, I have the landmarks and even if I get lost, I’ll have fun finding my way back.
Compass by Lady Antebellum