Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Choosing to backtrack

I needed to get gas on my way home tonight. I like to buy the cheapest gas. At $3 something a gallon, cheap is desirable. There's a cheap station a few blocks in the opposite direction from the way I'd go home, and there's another station almost directly on a possible path home. For some reason, I chose the station in the direct path. Seems reasonable, right?
Here's the thing: the direct path isn't the most direct path. It's just one that doesn't entail any backtracking. It does entail going into the heart of downtown, and navigating through several lights, and lots of traffic. The other station, the one out of my way, is just one right on red away, and then right onto the freeway after I've gassed up. It's really quite simple.
So, why am I even talking about this? Because I wondered, as I was traveling through town at a snail's pace, why I hadn't just gone a few blocks out of my way, to the easier station?
And then, as I am wont to do, I wondered how often I push forward, when perhaps a little backtracking is in order? How often do I get mired in what seems like a straightforward position only to wish I'd gone back, or held back?
Why is there such a stigma, (at least to me) on going backwards? Why is it a bad thing? Why always the pressure to be moving forward?
Perhaps what we sometimes need to hear is, it's okay to backtrack a little. Maybe there are places in our life where with one step back we'll actually move forward a lot more efficiently. I probably would have saved myself 10 minutes had I backtracked to the gas station away from home. Where in my life can I save something as valuable as time by taking a step back?
That's my question for today.


Molliwobbles said...

I gave an impromptu speech one time (at a tournament) on the given topic of "U Turns". I chose to talk about how many people believe u turns are illegal, but in many states including mine it's perfectly legal as long as it's not posted otherwise. In the same way, many of us have something about taking a u turn in our lives, and it seems like we're just not "supposed to" do such things. But really... just like you're talking about, sometimes that's the best option, isn't it? Do what's best for the overall journey, don't get caught up in doing a little backtracking now and then!

Cassandra said...

Thanks for your comment Mollie. It's such a good reminder.
Also...best wishes in your current endeavor, and don't worry about a little backtracking during the holidays!