Lessons from my GPS

(I think the glitch with multiple sendings of posts has been fixed. Holler — gwen@act2lifecoaching.com — if you experience any problems.)

I bought a new car this past summer. I splurged to include the integrated navigation package because it seemed like a good thing to have, given all the solo travel I do. Well. “Josie” has taught me a few things!

Really, one needs to have a sense of humor when dealing with all this emerging technology. I had come to terms, basically, with my Garmin, learning enough about navigating my way around its various menus and options to accomplish what I needed and get where I wanted to go. I did not anticipate a significant learning curve with the built-in unit in my new Jetta. Wrong! Good old German engineering — turns out the logic of this new system is significantly different than Garmin’s logic. (If, indeed, one can call any of these things “logical.”)

Okay! Picture me about to depart on a thousand mile trip from North Carolina to Boston. First, find the right icon. Type in the state, the city. (I figured that would be enough for the moment. Just get me to the right zip code!) Turns out there is not an easy way to see what Josie has planned between points A and B. Hmmm. Drive on, leap of faith? Not this cookie – I immediately put the “old” Garmin on the dashboard, deciding to compare the instructions and directions as I went along. (There must be a joke in this somewhere: “How many GPS systems does it take to get one technology-challenged woman from Tryon to Boston  . . .”)

I did fairly well until I hit the greater New York metropolitan area, which is always the challenge for me — how to get north and east without tangling with too much city traffic. I crossed the Hudson River — all’s well — but then lost my intended route as Josie took me to I95, one of my least favorite roads in the whole USA. Alas, off I went into “unnecessary” parts of Connecticut, wasting time, miles, and gas, not to mention experiencing lots of traffic.

The lessons? First, GPS works best if you don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Just like life! It’s easy to lose your way if you’re planning a chunk of 1,000 miles. (Or, in your life, if you are planning too far ahead of what’s going on right now.) If you plan city to city, state to state,  think in smaller chunks, (in your life, the present and emerging circumstances, not more) it’s easier to piece together a plan that doesn’t take you needlessly astray, and add a whole lot of stress in the process. It makes me smile to realize how many ordinary things keep delivering the same messages: Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Just keep plugging, “city to city,” or thing to thing. There’s plenty of guidance along the way. The scenery and serendipities are great adventures to be seized, experienced, and enjoyed, even when things don’t go as planned. There is always something to be learned, and not infrequently, even unpleasant happenings include unexpected upsides.

Josie also reminds me that new “friends” require an investment of energy, a degree of faith and good will, and a willingness to be open to new ways of looking at things. Not bad for an inanimate onboard navigation system. Thanks, Josie!

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