Monday, March 18, 2013

What am I proud of?

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by Andy Parsons, co-founder of Happify about becoming a Happify Pioneer. I checked out the site and immediately fell in love with the concept. I recently finished my first "track" over at Happify and one of the things I had to do was to think of a moment that made me proud of myself and all that I've accomplished. This particular moment of my life popped into my head almost immediately. At the time, my emotions were in shambles and I was having a hard time feeling good about anything. This tiny, innocuous moment was one of the turning points for me.
Visiting Drammen
"Seriously?" I muttered to myself as I sat in the Toyota Prius rental at the Oslo airport. I'd just gotten off a transatlantic red-eye flight from Boston on which I did not get a single wink of sleep. The car, with its fancy Start button ignition that I could not quite figure out, wasn't helping me feel at all certain that I could do this. Maybe the manual will help, I thought as I opened the glove box and pulled it out. "Oh fan-fricking-tastic. It's in Norwegian!" I exclaimed to no one.

Frustrated, I looked around to see if I could find someone who might be able to give me a clue. I hopped out of the car as I spotted a parking attendant and walked over to him,  "Excuse me, I'm having a bit of a problem. Could you tell me how to start my Prius?"  He smiled and responded in flawless but accented English, "Oh, you just have to put your foot on the brake when you press the button." "Oh," I said, feeling stupid, "Thank you."

I headed back to the car, hopped in, put my foot on the brake and pressed the Start button. Unsurprisingly, the car started up. I rolled my eyes at myself, buckled my seat beat, checked my mirrors and pulled out. After several kilometers, I started to feel more confident about the whole trip. I'd never been to Norway by myself before. I'd always traveled with coworkers and they had rented cars so I never needed to.

I'd always paid attention on the ride to the site though, which meant as long as I trusted in myself I could make it there without even really needing the Google Map directions sitting in the passenger seat. I guess you could say I have a superpower. I only need to be taken somewhere once and then I remember how to get there on my own. Really, I think it's just a good combination of being observant with navigational skills. It's only the moments that I don't trust my abilities that get me into trouble.

This was about to be one of those moments. 

As the two signs came into sight, one to continue following the E18 towards Sentrum/Drammen and another to take the E18/E6 towards Stockholm, I ignored my instincts to take the E18 towards Drammen and headed towards Stockholm. Very shortly after, while looking around, I realized the area didn't seem familiar at all.

"Well, crap." I told the Prius.

I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, which were starting to fray.  I looked ahead, hoping the next exit wasn't too far away. Norway has an intense love affair with roundabouts, so when I came to the end of the next exit and saw one, I was thrilled. I made my way through the roundabout and got on the highway heading back to where I came from. Once I was back onto the right highway, I executed my exit-roundabout maneuver once more to take the E18 towards Drammen.

I did that whole mess without a single tear shed! I thought proudly to myself. Smiling and feeling pleased with myself, I turned the music up and cruised the rest of the way there.