I’ve been reading a lot lately.
That’s what happens when you move across country and don’t have the time (nor the personality) to jump out there and make a bunch of friends. In reality, although I admit to being highly introverted, few people do have the personality to jump out there and make new connections to people.
It’s interesting, because we instantly begin forming connections to places and things around us, but not people. I remember the last time I moved (before coming to NJ). The move was literally two miles, but immediately my “spots” started to change. I went to a different grocery store and different restaurants than I had before, and even my driving routes and habits changed. Moving this far has really shaken things up as far as my habits go, and that can shake a person up much more than you might think.
Today, while paging through a (fantastic) book called Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, I came across a quote:
“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
Since moving here, I have felt lost more often than not. Honestly, I was giddy with joy the first time I made it from my apartment, to work, to school, and back to my apartment without using GPS. Yesterday I made it from the shopping center back home without GPS, and that was another milestone for me. For someone who typically has everything “figured out”, being lost is not a good place to be, because when you’re that type of person, it is really hard to ask for directions.
Last week I got on the wrong subway train.
Not a big deal… except my phone also died, which meant that I couldn’t just look up the correct route to take to get myself back on track. If I was going to get home anytime soon, I was going to have to ask someone for help… and I hate asking for help. But as Lewis said: “If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road;”
Now before you think this whole post is about asking for directions…well, I guess it really is. But not in the way you might think. I’m not talking about asking for directions to the right train station, or where you turn to get on the highway (although if you’re lost, you should definitely do those things). I’m talking about remembering that we are all a little lost in this world, and everyone is feeling their way through. Remember that it’s ok to ask for direction, and it’s ok to rely on the help and knowledge of others.
Also remember that it is always ok to admit you’re on the wrong track, and turn yourself around. Everyone is a tourist in this world, and while it seems “cool” to act like one of the locals, you end up missing out on the wonder of experiencing things for the first time.