Today: Jun 18, 2024

Life: destinations sometimes require directions

Driving in New Haven can be confusing, especially if you are not familiar with the area. You have to look out for bad areas and one-way streets. Quite frankly, if you did not grow up in the city you can find yourself lost or confused at the very least.
Now, you may be thinking that’s what a GPS is for, but what if you don’t have a GPS; what about before GPS was invented?
Sometimes life is like that: driving in an unfamiliar area without technology to help guide you. You know what your destination is, whether it is a restaurant or a store, but you just aren’t sure how to get there. Of course, you could stop and ask for directions, but what if the person does not know, or if they give you wrong directions?
I personally find New Haven to be confusing because some roads are two-way, but there are too many one-ways and “Do Not Enter” signs. Additionally, once you’re on a one-way street, you can’t turn around. Simple enough, right? Except when you’re staring in your rear-view mirror dying to turn around.
In the real world, we can turn around. We can go back and cling to the past, to something or someone we find familiar or comfortable—we run back to safety. We reject the concept of moving forward and looking behind. After all, you don’t know what’s at the end of the one-way street and you’re OK with what you’ve already passed.
You don’t live life with GPS units, having perfectly clear directions to your destination. Many of us have a general sense of what we want: a career, a spouse, bratty kids, two dogs. But that’s about as broad as saying “I want to go out to eat tonight.” Where are you going to eat? In New Haven alone there are at least 25 pizza joints; then there are Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Jamaican, American and vegan restaurants, cafes—the list goes on and on. We’re all going to eat, but we’re all going to eat differently, just like we all have different goals. With all the options, it’s not as though you can really turn to someone because you’ll get different answers from everyone.
At the end of the day, without the GPS, we’re all on our own. Or are we?
I would like to think at least once in za while, you’re driving with friends or relatives who have some sense of where you’re going and can give you reliable directions, but most of us aren’t driving around every second with co-pilots. Then there are times you drive aimlessly by choice, wanting to explore a new street, new territory. That’s OK too. After all, it’s not like you had a dinner date or appointment to get to on time. As long as you don’t run out of gas, it’s even OK if you get lost; you may even find a funky little shop you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
There are also a few people out there who seem to have a GPS chip built in their bodies, and all they focus on is their destination, whether that means becoming a doctor, a lawyer, etc. I’m not suggesting it’s bad to know exactly where you want to end up, but many of these people are so focused they’re not paying attention to anything but their destination. In the meantime, they’re missing out on that funky little shop or that amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
Of course, not everyone is so sure of their destination. Every once in a while, you may drive with one foot on the brake because you’re not sure where you’re going. After all, it can be scary if you are in a foreign area. And whether or not you choose to admit it, it can be intimidating, like a new relationship or marriage. Or that new career once you graduate college. You’re still moving forward, but not as quickly as you would drive otherwise.
Then there’s your favorite restaurant or bar or clothing shop downtown. Granted, you don’t know downtown like the back of your hand, but you can drive to your location with confidence that you aren’t going to get lost (parallel parking is a whole other story, however). Driving to that favorite place is like driving home or to a friend’s house. You know you’ll be at ease when you get there, and you can be yourself.
I can’t say you will turn around on a one-way or you have a GPS chip in your body because I think each situation in life can be different. For some, being in a relationship is like going to your favorite restaurant, while for others your foot is hovering over the brake. For a career, some may have the GPS while someone else may prefer to drive around aimlessly. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what’s more important: the journey or the destination.

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