Get Lost

Armed with my first ice cream of the summer, my curious nature and a car with some gas in it, I decided to take a little drive tonight.

After leaving a friend’s house, I was really craving a DQ Blizzard. Like REALLY craving one ever since I started seeing ads on the gym TV’s for the Wendy’s equivalent (ain’t that a bitch?) and driving past what has seemingly been an endless stream of summer ice cream places for the past two months. So bored and needing some dinner, a small chocolate Blizzard with Heath Bar in it was exactly what the unhealthy doctor ordered.

But the thing about living in the city is that there’s no place to just sit and eat it alone without either a) feeling like a dork for being by yourself and b) feeling like a pervert hanging out in a parking lot by yourself. I decided to go for a drive and find a spot to enjoy my cold treat, except the more I drove, the more asphalt and artificial light I found.

(I also discovered that driving and eating ice cream isn’t as difficult as it sounds.)

Not finding the scratch for my location itch, I took a right to jump on the highway I’ve driven on hundreds of times before. But at the last second, I decided to divert course and go straight on the connecting road instead. For years, I’ve always wondered where ‘straight’ goes, so I threw caution to the wind and decided it was time to find out.

I went through Bedford and then Merrimack and then back to Bedford. Along the way, I saw nice houses, quaint neighborhoods, lots of trees and tons of peace and quiet in New Hampshire suburbia. I cruised past roads I used to see on database mailings six times a year, always wondering where exactly the hell they were. Suddenly, they were right next to me in their tucked away American splendor.

10 minutes passed, then 20 and then, 30 – all without consulting a GPS or any directions. I just drove, thought and spaced out for a while. I tend to need these disappearing acts when there’s a lot on my mind, sometimes thinking how awesome it would be to just go into the woods and start life anew.

Finally, one road led to another and within a few turns, I was right back where I started. Feeling accomplished, my journey had come to an end and I headed home – satisfied with my Sunday journey and the curiosity cat still alive and purring.

In a way, life is a lot like my trip tonight and what so many people yearn but never try. Think about it: every day you generally go the same path to work, to school, to the gym, etc. It’s the safe path, you’re not going to encounter any crazy surprises and you don’t want to waste anytime.

But every once in a while at that same stop light you’ve been at 100 times, you look to the left and see a street that you’ve always been curious about but a bit nervous to drive down because you don’t know where it goes. It’s intimidating but damn it, you want to know what’s there and where it goes.

Finally – if you’re one of the lucky ones – you jump in the lane and head down that road, answering questions and perhaps changing your perspective. Maybe it’s not what you expected but perhaps, you discover an awesome coffee shop or a quicker way to work or a house that you didn’t see in your realtor’s listings – all because you took the leap of faith and went down the road.

There’s too many of us out there going down the same safe path that everyone else goes down. We’re afraid to tread new ground and see how life on the other side is like. We live a life we think we like as opposed to a life we might like better – terrified of the unknown and the emotions that uncertainty can bring. But isn’t that what life is about? Testing boundaries and feeling uneasy at times? I think it’s a hell of a lot better to live and lose than to live and be full of regret and frustration.

Do yourself a favor: get lost. Don’t worry – if you get scared, the path to safety and the lights and asphalt is a lot closer than you think.