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Today I Got Lost

Today I got lost. 

I’m usually pretty geography-savvy. I don’t often need maps. I know what direction North is at any given moment. It is easy for me to get around, and remember how to get where I’m going even if I’ve only been once. 

But today I got lost. I needed to mail a letter, and instead of driving to the post office, I decided to walk to the closest mail drop box. I looked it up on the USPS website, just under a mile away. What a great way to get in a little cardio, spend time outside, and run errands! 

So I began to walk. I left my home, feeling the sun on my face and listening to a podcast. I passed dogs with their people. I stepped over little lizards. I watched cars drive by me, wondering if they were running errands, too? After about 20 minutes, I got to my intended destination. Except the mailbox was not there. 

Was I in the right spot? Did the USPS website need an update? Was it hidden behind a bush or tree? I paced up and down the block while doing my best to not look suspicious. I didn’t want the people in the nearby businesses and homes to feel on-edge wondering about a stranger wandering the neighborhood. After a few more minutes of looking, and finding nothing. I walked home. 

There are times when I would leave this experience feeling defeated. I did not mail my letter, so I did not accomplish the task I set out to do. Sounds like failure. It may not be a failure on a major scale, but by definition it is still a failure. And I am sensitive to failure. My whole life I’ve been battling perfection, or imperfection, and I have to remind myself regularly that failing does not define me. Even writing it now makes my heart race a little.

However, I don’t feel defeated. I don’t feel like a failure. Before I left on my walk, I knew it would be a great exercise and quality time outside. Those two activities are much stronger values to me than mailing this particular letter. It was not a time-sensitive parcel, just needed to be sent within the week. 

These are the moments that inspire me. It’s not easy for me to say, “Oh, well” when my expectations are not met, but this was one experience in which I said it with ease. I didn’t feel like I had wasted my time. I didn’t worry about not doing what I set out to do. I didn’t care that I needed to look at the map to see if I was in the right spot. All these thoughts and feelings may not sound profound, but they are small-scale examples of personal growth in my life. 

Today I got lost. 

And it reminded me to focus on living out my values.

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