Recent road construction forced me to take a detour from my normal course. I was aware of the new route, but hadn’t taken it because I was comfortable with the familiar. Why go venturing into the unknown?
After nearly three years in my new city, I’d forgotten that discovering new places is one of the perks of relocation. An unassuming little hole in the wall where they serve amazing sushi. A park that rents kayaks for five bucks. Resale shops that serve up both vintage and cool without shaking you upside down and emptying your pockets.
Many of these finds have been purely fortuitous. I happened upon them on the way to somewhere else. Then there are all the delightful places I’ve discovered while temporarily lost or forced to take a detour.
It was not simply the act of being lost or detoured which enabled me to recognize these gems. Happenstance was accompanied by a decided approach to view such moments with a spirit of adventure.
When I found myself on a new road or in a neighborhood with which I was unfamiliar, I sought out the lesson to be learned from my unexpected journey. This openness to discovering something new, something better, colored the experience in a way frustration or fear would never allow.
Life can be a lot like that, too.
We are sidetracked by detours. Sometimes we feel lost. But being open to the experience can get us back on the right road. Not necessarily the one from which we were detoured. Sometimes the real discovery is that we were on the wrong road all along. One that, while it might have served some purpose in our life, left us feeling miserable and hollow in all of the ways that are most important.
The loss of a relationship (spouse, friend or employer) can be devastating. It can also be incredible freeing. At times we find that the very thing lost was the unseen weight on our chest stealing our joy and making it more difficult to breathe. Until we open our eyes to the possibilities the new experience affords, we will never realize that we have been given a gift. One we shouldn’t squander.
A recent, unexpected job loss brought this lesson clearly into view. It was the crushing weight on my chest, making it difficult to breathe, paralyzing me with constant anxiety. Even in instances where we have been wronged, the loss of an unhealthy, soul-sucking relationship can put us back on the right road. The one the leads to the life we’ve always wanted. The one we deserve.
Though I didn’t initiate this change, I am open to the opportunities it has afforded me. I embrace them. And more than ever, I am grateful for the joys I experience each day, whether big or small. I am focused on the journey ahead while remaining alert to all of the new discoveries to be made along the way.
The recent road construction and resulting detour from my comfortable course forced me to take another route. One I now realize is quicker and more efficient. The one I should have been on all along. It was an object lesson, reflecting my life, reminding me of what joys can be found when we take the detour.
Photos courtesy of johngpt and spiicytuna.