Mental Magazine

Wrong Turns

There is a running joke in my relationship every time we take a road trip or have to drive anywhere new.  No matter how good the GPS system is, no matter how simple the directions are, I will always make at least one wrong turn in a new journey.  But getting lost isn’t always a bad thing!

As somewhat of a perfectionist, I have always been a little embarrassed of the little mistakes I’ve made while driving if someone else is in the car, particularly if we are following a satnav.  How hard can it be to follow the directions as they come up?  My passenger must think I’m an idiot.  I should have known it meant the next turn instead of this one.  These are just some of the thoughts that go through my head when a wrong turn occurs, I can sometimes beat myself up about it for a couple of days, which I do recognise is not normal, don’t worry.

On a recent trip however, my thinking on this little driving quirk of mine was changed.  My boyfriend and I were driving home from my aunts wedding a couple of weeks ago, the trip to her house had been uneventful, as it should be given that it is somewhere I have driven many times before.  I was expecting much of the same on the way home, that is until I took the wrong turn off of a large roundabout and ended up off of the motorway and driving the back roads in slightly the wrong direction.  I felt extra foolish for this one.  I should be able to do this simple journey by now but apparently not!  Did I really trick my boyfriend into thinking he was dating an intelligent person?  How did I manage that?

My typical, self-hating thought spiral was interrupted as we reached Hungerford, a sweet little English town that I have only really had in my peripheral knowledge of this part of the world.   A voice piped up from the passenger seat suddenly spouting all these interesting facts about Hungerford, the main of which was regarding the massacre that took place in 1987.  This one particularly piqued my interest due to my studies into forensic psychology, and I think he knew that.  I was listening intently to everything he had to say about this event that I had no idea about before now, excited to be learning something new, and pleased that it happened as a result of my directional incompetence.

Since this trip, I can now look at the wrong turns I make on new journeys as a good thing.  I can look at them as an opportunity for adventure, to explore a new town, see beautiful sights I would otherwise miss, and learn new things about the country I am from.  I would like to say that this shift in perspective the result of all of my own hard work and introspection but that would be unfair.  This particular change is entirely down to the wonderful person I am exploring this world with.  So, sometimes a wrong turn can be a good thing, it can lead to adventure and learning new things, and all of this is more likely to happen if you are taking the best people along with you for the ride.  life is much like a road trip, sometimes the wrong turns and unexpected detours lead to the best memories. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye. Right?

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