Guest Blogger: Claudia Hufham – Claudiareinvented
This time of year I can’t help but think about my Daddy. Remembering all the sweet childhood memories I have. Riding on the bicycle with him, sitting on the ice cream churn as he cranked it around and around in anticipation of homemade peach ice cream that we were about to enjoy.
Playing tennis and golf with him, hearing him yell for me as I was about to dive into the pool at a swim meet. The look on his face as he looked at his first and only granddaughter. His smile when I handed him his grandson that I named after him. There are a lifetime of memories.
Mapping The Trip
As I was packing for the annual Father’s Day weekend beach trip with my girlfriends, the memory of my Dad going to the local gas station to get a map in order to plot out a trip is one of those memories that pops into my head and makes me smile. A map of North and South Carolina or North Carolina and Virginia depending on our destination. He would lay the map out on the kitchen table and use a highlighter to mark the best route, studying the map to make sure he picked the best one. Highlighting an alternative route in a different color highlighter, just in case.
Once I could drive and I was going on a road trip, to my sisters in Virginia or to college in South Carolina, he would get a map and highlight my best route.
Once he was finished highlighting the route and going over it with me to make sure I understood when and where I was going to turn or change highways, he would fold the map back up and place it in my glove box. He was a master at folding the map back up perfectly so that it would fit into the glove compartment, this is a talent that I do not possess! I could never fold it back up and would end up just kind of wading it up the best I could. Much like a fitted sheet! I’ve watched more than one YouTube video on how to fold a fitted sheet and it STILL ends up in a wad stuffed in the linen closet.
These memories of a paper map and finding the best route made me think, “Wow how the times have changed!” (Which led me to the “Wow, isn’t that just the thing an old person would say?”) Now a days, we have all kinds of navigation systems to keep us on the right path. They are in our cars and on our phones and if we take a wrong turn, the navigation lady (well in my case it’s a lady) tells me to “make a U turn at my earliest convenience” or she recalculates the route. She even knows when there is traffic ahead or a route that is the fastest or one that has less traffic. She is very helpful.
The Map of Life
Oh how I wish my Dad were here to map out and highlight the best route for me to take or a voice that could come from nowhere telling me to turn around! Now, I do want to say that my Mom and Dad did the best job a parent can do to arm their child with the information needed to make good decisions. With that said, I didn’t always do what they thought I should do. I did however, try to learn my lessons when I ended up going down the wrong path.
Having lost my way a time or two during my journey, this territory is not completely foreign to me. While life is throwing punches, I am hearing that navigation woman saying “Recalculating, Recalculating” over and over in my head. I was on the road I wanted to be on and it seemed like a great road, but you could have knocked me over with a feather when I was greeted with that “DEAD END” sign. Out of nowhere the road ended. I couldn’t have seen that on a map and this recalculation was not because I was on the wrong path but rather the path came to an abrupt end.
Even The Best Navigation Can’t Always Prepare You
That is something that I don’t remember anyone preparing me for. Maybe they tried and I just didn’t listen? Maybe this is a lesson that I’ve had to learn more than once? Since no one can navigate my life for me, I find myself wondering if I am really qualified to be the navigator of my own life. On the other hand, what choice do I have? I feel like I am second guessing every step. Where is this going to lead? How do you know if it’s the right path? I have found that the more I think about it, the more I second guess myself. The fact that I don’t have the luxury of time, like I did when I was younger, makes the decisions seem even harder.
Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash
I remember when I was in high school, singing for graduation a song that was based on the Robert Frost poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’. I immediately fell in love with the poem:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Less Traveled
I have found myself, putting my head down and coasting through my life, forgetting how much those words that spoke to me. I didn’t take the road less travelled. Most of the time I’ve taken the easy road. The road that was already mapped out and been travelled well by others before me. Thinking it was a wise decision at the time. Seems that I’ve taken the wrong road more times than not thinking it was the right road.
So now here I am wondering if my “road picker” has been bad my whole life? Have I been listening to what I thought was my gut, but turns out to be that little devil on my shoulder just looking to get me down the wrong path? How can I trust my gut at this point and if that’s true? But on the other hand, I can remember more than once I’ve been on a road trip and for whatever reason, traffic, a bathroom pit stop, a wrong turn, ending up somewhere that wasn’t planned, but making a great memory in my life. Maybe instead of worrying about whether I am on the “right” path, I need to enjoy the path I am on! Seems I am missing out on so much by focusing on the path itself, when I should be enjoying the journey.
My Internal Navigation
I close my eyes and listen for my Dad’s voice. “You got this Coggy” (his nickname for me). I’ve heard him say that so many times in my life and actually, I still have a message he left for me on my phone years ago. I listen to it so I don’t forget what his voice sounds like.
The paths that are laid out before me seem to be daunting, covered with thorns and not clearly marked. If I knew where they were going, maybe I would be happier about the journey or maybe the uncertainty could be exciting. I think what my Daddy would tell me is that none of us are getting out of here alive, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
This road is mine and mine alone to navigate. Others may walk with me but no one can walk it for me. So all I have is to figure out the lessons that those well travelled paths have taught me, try not to make the same mistakes and never regret any of the bend and turns along my path.
About the Author
Claudia Hufham is a blogger, mom to two grown kids and a Boxer/American Bulldog, who found herself looking for a new career at age 59. In her quest to reinvent herself and save her sanity, she started a blog. Her humor and down to earth story telling of her life lessons have led her to be featured on sites like Feedspot.com. You can read more from Claudia at Claudiareinvented. You can follow Claudia on her Instagram and FaceBook Page as well.
Claudiareinvented is featured on Feedspot as one of the Top 10 Women Over 50 Blogs