I’ve been thinking a lot lately about detours. Obviously, since our son’s diagnosis with Type I Diabetes we’ve taken a pretty big detour from the path we were on in Madagascar. Then of course, in addition to this big, giant detour, there are all the little detours we encounter every day – school cancellations, finding we didn’t pick up an essential ingredient for a meal, plans for dinner out thrown off when a friend is working late, traffic, rain, etc., etc.
From my perspective, life’s not really about simply managing the detours, it’s more about recognizing that the path we’re on is just plain winding. We make all these plans and, in the best of circumstances, it all works out as we envisioned. The road spreads out ahead of us, each brick in its place, each blade of grass grows straight and perfect, the sun shining…and on and on. But, almost always, there are bumps along the way.
Few people understand this reality better than expats. It’s not that it’s easier for us (it’s not), but I do think that when your world is so big (and honestly so small at the same time) you realize really quickly that there are a whole, whole lot of things outside your control. We rely a lot on others, perhaps more than people who stay put. We also have a great internal locus of control – an “I can do this!” attitude. We become almost absurdly adaptable. We get really good at seeing the big picture – the world outside ourselves.
We’re not perfect and despite the ways in which we expertly go with the flow, sometimes, just like anyone else, we get knocked around a bit by the detours. But, let’s not forget in challenging times to tap into our inner adventurers, our nature as modern-day explorers and our deep understanding of the quirky. Because whether you’re on one giant detour or finding a moments respite in the straight and fully-paved – life’s really about the way you handle the road more than what path you’re bumping along on.