“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” – Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo
I’ve never been one to hide my directional ineptness, but actually there’s more to the story. Whenever I have to navigate unfamiliar areas, intense fear grips me. Although I never go anywhere without my navigation system, a printed Google map, and directions from someone who knows where I am going, I may as well have nothing. My palms sweat as I grip the steering wheel, wondering how many wrong turns I will make and how late I will be.
But when I arrive safely – especially when there is minimal backtracking – I feel triumphant. Reaching a destination provides a small boost to my directionally fragile self-esteem.
Although this fear tempts me to forgo excursions to new places, like speaking engagements out of my ten-mile radius, I do it anyway. I say YES and remind myself that although I might get lost temporarily, I always find my way home.
My children are aware of my problem. They know to get very quiet at the first sign Mom is lost—usually when I start talking to the GPS. There’s a very good chance my children don’t know the gas station sells gasoline. I use it mainly for directional purposes.
Surprisingly, my kids still get in the car with me each day. When I type a new address into the GPS, the look of concern on their faces is brief. Usually one of them shrugs and reminds the other, “We can always stop at the gas station if we get lost.”
Well, the other night it happened—we got lost. But this time I had no navigation system, no map, and no written directions.