Daily Archives: September 2, 2013

My Life GPS


I like to use a GPS when I drive. I use a social GPS where other’s ahead of me provide input and I can verify the info for those behind me. I think that we can use a social GPS in our own lives. But when I thought about it, I think we do have a GPS in our lives if we choose to use it.

Before the GPS can plan a route, you must first input where it is you want to go. In life, it is a good idea to decide and know where it is we want to go. Not everyone does. The GPS will always tell you where you are, if you don’t let it know where you are going. It is good to know where you are, otherwise how would you begin.  I will admit that I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I am not even sure I know what I want to be when I grow up. Since I am more than 50 years old, I probably should decide. It is never too late to decide where you want to be tomorrow. I’ve been thinking about retirement, especially where to live after retirement.

So my first task is to input into my life GPS where it is I want to go. When I do that, it gives me several options for my routes, with the fastest option at the top. I can choose slower options, it is up to me. Once I choose the route, the GPS gives me my first direction. It’s initial route is based on traffic and known hazards at the time the request was made. When we make decisions on what to do next, we can only make them based on what we know now. We make the very best decision we can with the knowledge that we have. We may find out later that the decision was flawed, but only because of information of which we were not aware.

My GPS dynamically changes routes when it encounters new information. In my life, I have to do the same thing. I may have to change my actions or thinking based on new information or situations. No matter how well we plan, we still must be flexible enough to deal with the reality of the moment. The GPS routes around the obstacle, if it can, or warns you that the obstacle is ahead and you just have to suffer through it. The GPS might even provide routes that we didn’t know or think about. That happens in life too. We might not be aware of obscure opportunities that get us to the place we want to go. Or we might not realize that there are different ways to live our dreams by doing things associated with our main goal. Our life GPS can show us new ways to approach our future.

Sometimes my GPS is wrong. There are times that my GPS will tell me that there is traffic ahead but when I get there, it is gone. Was there traffic there earlier? Probably yes. Just like in life, just because we experienced something once, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the same way now. Travel is a dynamic exercise. Roads can close at a moments notice, new roads open, detours pop up, accidents shut down lanes and create traffic tie-ups. Life is like that too. If we were hurt in one relationship, it doesn’t mean that every relationship will be bad.  Just as the GPS doesn’t have all the answers, things in our life can pop up that were unexpected and unplanned.

Even when the GPS is right, we may not want to follow the directions or take the wrong turn. I sometimes think to myself, that doesn’t make sense to me, I think I will go this way instead. Almost every time I do that, I end up regretting it. If I ask someone wiser than I for advice and then ignore it, it usually doesn’t work out well for me. Their experiences are different and may not be perfect, but the information is valuable. We can learn from those who have experienced and overcame difficulties similar to ours. Or, we can ignore the GPS and go our own way. It might work. It might not. It might have been easier if we listened. The GPS might have been wrong.. This is why life is an adventure.

My life GPS comes in many forms. It takes the form of the Bible, many great books both spiritual and philosophical. It comes from seeking advice from experienced individuals. It comes from studying problems and learning how others coped with difficulties and opportunities. It comes from my own past experiences. It comes from thoughtful and heartfelt prayer.  And, it comes from my hopes, aspirations and dreams.

Life has a GPS. It can tell us where we are and where we have been. But for every moment we live, we help decide where we are going.