But then I got breast cancer.
That is when I learned that choosing what to wear and how to treat other people are about the only things we truly have any control over in this life.
Obviously, it was a hard lesson to learn. It was difficult to admit that I didn’t even have enough control to decide when I thought I might feel up to getting my breasts whacked off my chest.
But here’s the thing ... while going through the many challenges of the last year and a few months, I have learned that I won’t be in the driver’s seat of many life situations. It doesn’t work that way. It was never meant to work that way, either. But that doesn’t mean that I need to be afraid.
And so on stressful days, I started a little “get-lost-on-purpose” activity. I grab my best Motown music and take all kinds of twists and turns on back roads until I have absolutely no idea where in the world I am.
Sometimes, I get to see pretty new places. Sometimes they feel even more special since I know I have no idea how to find them again. When I get lost, it’s a trip of moments that will never be repeated. Other times, I pull the car over and sit in silence. I think about how far we have to travel these days, to get away from traffic sounds and people. Having absolutely no clue about how to get back to civilization can still feel kind of scary. But I am not a baby about it anymore.
Last week I decided once again to disappear for a while. I found myself crazy lost on a narrow, sandy road. Old rusty signs were posted about it being a watershed area, whatever that means. There were no people, buildings or cars. The place was quiet and forgotten. And so, it was one of the more perfect places I’ve ever been lost. I was eyeing this much narrower path to the left and how it wove so beautifully through the trees. But I was afraid to turn off the main road. What if the sand was too deep and my car got stuck? It was a long walk back to the main road. There were probably all kinds of critters out there in those woods.
So I turned off the main road.
Because from now on, fear is not going to stop me from doing anything.
I sat there for a while, looking up at the huge tree tops poking at the sky, looking far in the distance at nothing but more trees and quiet. The path was too narrow to drive farther into the tree line. And I was right about the deep sand. Really had to smash the gas pedal, with sand flying everywhere, to get up the hill and back on the main road. My heart was beating crazy in my chest but I was laughing. And I was alive. Very alive.
It was a great day to get lost.