March 21, 2014
My drive into the “day job” is usually straightforward – in the literal sense of the word. I point my car and head in a straight line and then back again. I do this ten times a week and I’ve jokingly said I “could do with my eyes closed”. Which apparently isn’t true.
I live in an area of the world where, if fog and mist can descend, they will, rapidly and with astonishing density.
So, I found myself driving to the office in a real “pea-souper” of a fog. I had opened the curtains at Hudson HQ earlier in the morning and remarked to Lovely Husband that I couldn’t see the house across the road, and as he left for his office LH did tell me to “take it slowly” on my drive in. I assured him I would, but actually didn’t think it would be all that different from my usual daily drive.
However, five minutes down the road and I realised that this was more than just the usual bit of mist and fog and it completely altered the situation.
I really did think that I could “do it with my eyes closed”, but I was pretty much faced with having to do just that in thick fog and it was terrifying. I had thought I had a good “mental road map” in my head – I knew where all the potholes were; I knew the junctions where the traffic lights were heavily weighted in favour of different lanes of traffic; I was well aware of the tricky merge when I left the motorway on the way home. I had thought it was all second nature.
The fog changed everything. I couldn’t see more than five metres ahead and even then I couldn’t quite trust what my eyes were telling me as it was out of focus and hard to distinguish. I had to make sure I had my wits about me and had to properly think about every action and process of the journey. It wasn’t “second nature”, it was slowly moving forward, and thinking that I knew what was ahead of me but not able to confirm it.
My confusion was compounded by the fact that a five-car-pile-up had happened just before the slip road onto the motorway – something that I’ve never had to encounter before. It brought traffic to a complete standstill and added an hour to my journey. It also made me switch off my engine and wait in the stationary traffic for an hour – and I have to say I was glad of the rest – the concentration required to just keep moving forward had been exhausting.
I did eventually make it into the office, and I wasn’t the only one who had been delayed because the road ahead had been difficult. Again colleagues who did their own route every day had been equally troubled by the fact that the fog obscured everything; made them doubt what they thought they knew and caused them to make their way far more cautiously than usual.
It was only after I had drunk my calming cup of tea that I began to think about “the journey” and about “the road I’m travelling on” (which are aspects of my own WLR journey I refer to regularly).
I realised that on my “WLR road” there are also times when the mist descends or “fog” means that I’m unable to see my way forward.
The mist and fog can be anything from a birthday celebration to an unexpectedly stressful event in my life. I can be happily wending my WLR-way, able to see what’s ahead, confident that I know what is coming and how to handle it and then, suddenly, I’m unable to see clearly and the potential for me to go off track, to lose my way, or to get hopelessly lost suddenly materialises.
It’s at these times that I have to remember The Fog. I have to apply the same care and diligence that I applied to my drive into work. I need to exercise care and caution; I need to perhaps take it a little more slowly and use all of the resources around me to help me navigate the perils successfully and keep me on the right road. I have to also trust my own instincts and have faith in the knowledge that I have already acquired.
I need to commit to staying on track and do everything I can to make sure that I make it to my destination.
It may take a little longer; it might be a little harder; it may be daunting, but as long as I stay in control, keep my wits about me, and am prepared for any eventuality. I will continue to move forward in the right direction and closer to my destination.
The WLR journey is unique to each one of us. We have the benefit of the advice and wisdom of those who have travelled the road before us. We develop our own habits and patterns which form the basis of the way in which we keep heading forward. Most of the time the road ahead is clear; we know where we are heading and know that if we keep looking down the road we will see the “finishing line”.
It is what makes us continue on our journey; makes us move forward with confidence; and makes us certain that we will get there.
But every so often “the fog” descends and the WLR journey suddenly looks and feels different.
There are times when it can be daunting; when you can feel like you are moving slowly; making your way along a route which is unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but the important thing to remember is that you are still “making your way along”. And that is the most important thing of all to remember. You Can Do This… no matter what the route ahead may hold, you can navigate your way through anything and you will reach the finishing line.
So however you are making your way today, stay safe; have courage; trust in all you have learned; and have faith in your own abilities. The fog is temporary...the journey is for life.
With a huge hug