For someone who knows exactly where she's going in life, I have absolutely no sense of direction in any literal sense. With GPS navigation stuck on the windshield, an entire book of maps on the seat next to me, and absolutely not a clue in my frazzled brain, I spent much of the past week traversing the inconveniently-named and utterly baffling streets of St. Paul. I have covered every inch of the city, even though I've only intended to go to a select few destinations. Even walking, with every intersection, I find myself doubting, questioning, turning round and round to see if something, anything looks familiar. The walk from the free parking to the building on the U of M campus where I work is about 3/4 mile through a brick and mortar jungle of buildings indistinguishable from one another and streets that twist and turn like an excited toddler dancing to the Wiggles. Needless to say, I leave plenty of time in my morning commute for finding my way to work. However, I may have bought myself a few more winks of sleep in the morning by discovering a remedy to my navigational woes: proper motivation and false confidence. Yesterday, I was determined to get back to my car (no longer a cave, by the way), as quickly as possible, without a single wrong turn. Knowing this was about as likely a scenario as me not polishing off the last cookie sitting in the break room (it was taunting me!), I puffed out my chest, held my head high, and lied to myself. "You can do it!" Most of the time, this fails as miserably as one would expect, but this day was different. There was purpose in my steps, proper motivation: ice cream. The rapidly melting pint in my bag, quickly liquidizing in the 103 degree Minnesota heat (an unlikely phrase, no?) propelled me onward to my destination with determination. At every intersection, an almost supernatural force guided my steering wheel in the direction of home and a safe haven in the freezer, quashing the panicky "which-way-do-I-go-oh-no-I'm-going-the-wrong-direction-have-I-seen-this-house-before-I-don't-think-so-but-maybe-I-have-crap!-stop-sign" that threatened to spring from my heat-scrambled brain (sizzling in my skull like eggs in a skillet).
Today, I accomplished this feat without the aid of any sweet dairy requiring rescue. My GPS remained in the off position the entire time, yet my brain stayed on and got me to and from work without so much as a second-guess at the oddly laid out intersection with the wooden bear lawn ornament on the corner (he waves at me every morning). Lo and behold, my false confidence had taken hold and become real.
Lest this story become too inspirational and uplifting, let me conclude with two thoughts. The moral of the story is not to believe in oneself, but to lie to oneself and always have a bribe (preferably food) ready when proper motivation is needed. Secondly, the ice cream sucked. There, no one will leave here feeling warm and fuzzy like last time. My work here is done.