Quarter tank of gas. Should’ve filled up in the last town. Should’ve made that last left turn.. or was that a right. GPS stopped working due to outdated hardware, software, and most likely, user error. Spotty cell phone reception. Anxiety started to creep. Driving alone at this point, so there’s no one else to blame, or more importantly, ask for help.
I pulled over. Anxieties still present, but this view. Took in the sights, took some photos, inhaled, exhaled. I thought about the worst case: getting stuck, calling for a tow truck, driving back to my campsite without doing the hike I planned.
At that moment, I learned that I can appreciate this beauty, whether I accomplish my plans or not. This scene can be enjoyed with a quarter tank, or a full tank of gas. Driving alone, stressed out, anxiety-ridden or driving with a large group, perfectly prepared, and stress-free. Beauty remains unchanged. It is there, independent of me. I could either ignore it, or enjoy it.
That revelation didn’t ease my anxiety completely, but it helped me manage it. In fact, I still got lost several times after this moment, and had to backtrack a handful of times. But instead of getting consumed by my worries, I pulled over to appreciate where I was lost.