Do Away With Blind Submission; Live Purposefully!
Last week, I had an appointment to drop off my three books at a cute little boutique in Santa Monica called Mindfulnest. This trek is about 30 miles from my starting point and I estimated that it would take me between one and two hours, each way of the commute. That could mean four hours of sitting unproductively in my car, under a hot sun, smothered in LA smog. I purposefully created a “work from home” lifestyle to avoid these circumstances.
For readers not familiar with Los Angeles geography, Santa Monica sits right at the Pacific Ocean’s edge. The beach is my all-time favorite place to relax and metaphorically cleanse, yet that possible two hour drive has deterred me from spending time with my feet in the sand several times in the last year. Last week, I had no excuse. I was not going to drive for hours to reach a destination only blocks away from the beach, without seeing the ocean’s waves or smelling the salty air. With too much to do on the day of my journey, I didn’t have the luxury of stopping and making it an official beach day, but I did indulge a bit by going slightly out of the way in order to drive a few miles along Pacific Coast Highway.
I had set the GPS to my destination, but chose to get off the highway early, and take windy, two-lane city streets littered with stop signs and traffic lights. On this path, I would be able to drive a few miles along the water’s edge. A route, to me, that was much more enjoyable than bumper to bumper traffic with cement barricades. Google maps estimated the scenic drive would double my time in traffic. Something I originally wanted to avoid became worth it with the inclusion of being able to smell, hear, and see the ocean. I knew that either way I would be sitting in traffic for a better part of the day, so, I went for the longer, more scenic route that gave me a glimpse of the great Pacific Ocean. I made it to Santa Monica and back within 2 hours, and that includes my half-hour meeting with the store owner. Seems I may have gotten the best of both worlds, an enjoyable trip and a short time in traffic.
The reason I’m sharing this story is to demonstrate that there are many ways to get to the same destination and sometimes the “recommended route” isn’t always the best way. Nothing changes about the place we’re going to because of the way we arrive there, except for maybe our attitudes. I arrived to Mindfulnest, uplifted, grateful, and inspired. Had I sat in dense traffic for over an hour, I may have shown up tired, grumpy, and discouraged.
With all this being said, I would like to encourage you to set the destination of your GPS (read as: Your Goal). Then, take a look at the route (society’s standards for accomplishing such a goal); and explore other itineraries. Make note of what you’d like to encounter on your journey (like the site of the Pacific Ocean, or the quickest path possible), and see if there is a way to redirect the steps so that your entire adventure is exciting and enjoyable. Remember, the GPS is a guide, but you are the master of your destiny. Take charge and create the experiences you want to have, purposefully.