[Noun; ~ Pronunciation: /prep-uh-rey-shuh n/]
- Definition: A pure preparation is, for instance, when planning a “road trip” to the other side of the Netherlands, researching your route to get there on three different websites, while also printing the email your friend sent you with descriptions how to get to his house, recharging your father’s ancient GPS navigation system to bring with you, and downloading a new app for your smart phone for the last bit as your friend lives in a fairly new housing estate which isn’t quite acknowledged by Google Maps yet (or your father’s ancient GPS system).
“A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success”
– Joyce Brothers –
That’s my car, right there. I know most of my readers from North-America are probably in stitches by now, for me considering that tiny dinky toy to be an actual car. I get it, I’ve been to Canada and all I saw was giant pick-up trucks and huge cars, every single one of them being at least twice the size of mine.
But I don’t care, for two reasons: 1) my car takes me places and it drives heavenly, not to mention I can park it pretty much everywhere, and 2) the size of my car is not the point of this post.
What is? The fact that no matter how prepared you think you are, you’re bound to come face to face with unexpected situations in life anyway.
Last Sunday I had a meet-up with some friends I made during my Canada trip. A few of us agreed to meet up each month or so and eat home-made cake. Sounds good, right? H was the first to host our “Cake Club Get-Together” and at the prospect of tiramisu-cake, nobody minded where he lived.
This eventually meant I had to travel practically to the other side of the country for a piece of cake. Luckily, the Netherlands aren’t that big and all my route planners told me it’d take me a little over an hour to get there by car.
Fully prepared (printed emails and routes with maps, a fully charged old GPS navigation system and a new one downloaded onto my phone for the last part), I went on my way. In fact, my preparations had included making a new CD with over eighty minutes of music to entertain me on my way!
Off I went, and after nearly an hour my GPS told me to “take a left after eighty metres, then: take the ferry!”
At this point I might have to add that my father installed a very happy, Surinam voice to narrate our GPS. Don’t get me wrong, the whole family loves him. He’s always very happy and upbeat (although he sometimes gets overly distressed when you take a wrong turn and he doesn’t know how to correct you), and we always laugh when he tells us to “either take the exit or a piece of candy!”
He sounded even more excited when he got to tell me to “take the little boat!” (which I can imagine, because when does he ever get to say that?).
But no matter how happy Mr. Navigation was, I was utterly flummoxed. It was only because I automatically joined the line of cars waiting for the “little boat” and others joined in behind me, that I couldn’t let panic take over, but secretly my control-freakish mind went: Boat? Ferry? Water? What??
All those hours of preparation, of reading H‘s email over and over again, finding his house on different mapping websites, even searching where that stupid bridge was he had told us all about, and all I got was a ferry? A very never-mentioned-by-anyone-ferry?
After telling H and the others about the ferry, everyone laughed at me and wondered how stupid my out-of-date navigation Surinam narrator must be. Afterwards, of course, H researched my route and found it was, in fact, the shortest one possible. The ferry had kept me from a thirty kilometre detour (to and fro) and had thus saved me money for gas.
No wonder the voice in my GPS navigation system had been so happy about the “little boat”. For in the end, it turned out he had been better prepared than anyone. Even me.
Life throws you surprises. Don’t be afraid of them, embrace them, laugh at them, and trust it will take you places.
To the other side of the country, for instance ;)