Last year's trip pinged a lot of my discomfort zones and frankly a few fears. I left 1 1/2 hours late, incorrectly rewrote the directions and missed a key highway, got lost which added 2 hours to the trip, and got caught in a thunderstorm and since my car accident 2 years ago I'm not fond of them. I had wanted to be more spontaneous and go with the flow of things, so I did my best to enjoy the pasture lands and the animals I drove by, but after an hour I checked my iPad and saw how far off course I'd gotten. Somehow I'd returned to NY state when I should have stayed in CT. Don't ask.
As I joined the 2 mile lane of traffic for my exit on Mass Pike, you guessed it, my gas gauge light went on. I knew I was low on gas but somewhere in my mind I wasn't going to pay the high price of gas in NY (did I say I passed by the gas/food stop before the Tappan Zee Bridge?) while knowing it would be higher in MA. I am reasonably intelligent, with good common sense but it wasn't evident in this moment. There's a range indicator in my car and I had 35 miles worth of gas in the tank and I was now in stop and go traffic. Did I know how far the next gas station and my exit were? Hell no. I had visions of being on the side of the highway waiting for AAA to tow my car; at least I had my AAA card with me!
A few weeks before my trip, I had told Jim that I wanted a divorce and I had this story in my mind that if I called him he wouldn't want to help me. Under this were my fears of not being able to make it on my own. I couldn't even get to the convention I'd been going to for years so what was I thinking getting divorced???!!
I also felt incredibly alone in the world.
But I did not know anything else I could do while driving so I called Jim. He was gracious (why wouldn't he be??) and he told me what I needed to know. I think he also said to call him when I got to the hotel. On some level I also needed to connect to another human being. Armed with information and 25 more miles left in my gas tank, I continued on. When I got to my exit I knew there were gas stations right there. Before I gassed up I saw there were 4 more miles left in my tank. Whew!
When I finally got to the hotel 3 hours later than planned, I was told they didn't have my reservation. I had my confirmation number and within 10 minutes I had a room with the fridge I had requested.
What did I learn?
- Managing your time now can reap great benefits later on
- Recheck what you write down
- When you need something (or your gas tank does) consider getting it when the opportunity presents itself and do not wait until it becomes urgent
- Planning doesn't mean you get what you want, but you might stay in the right state
- Stories you make up in your mind are just stories, get a reality check instead by asking/doing
- Keep confirmation numbers
- Find in the situation something you can be grateful for no matter how small
- Know you're never as alone as you feel---reach out even when it's scary
- I am so much stronger, able, and capable than I realize