My friends think I’m very adventurous because in June 2015 I moved from upstate NY to western Massachusetts. Although I had two close friends here, I basically had to get out and meet people—and I am an introvert.
Now, a year later, I’ve met many people, got involved in some major group activities, and am becoming integrated into life here. In addition, I’ve explored the area and know my way around. I did, however, avoid one adventure: going to the BIG MALL, the kind that has hundreds of stores and miles of parking lots.
This week, that opportunity, out of necessity, came to me. My Apple desktop started to make unpleasant sounds. After a phone call to Applecare yielded no results, I had to take it to the Apple Store at the big mall 20 miles away. This involved highway driving, which I’ve largely not done, to an unknown and quite possibly confusing destination.
I planned for it with mindfulness, looking up the best route, locating the Apple Store on the map of the mall, and telling myself that thousands of people have found this mall. I have read no reports of someone becoming lost forever there. Secretly, though, I thought I might be the first.
Before I left, I took time to meditate and center. I realized that—maybe—I could shift the energy of anxiety into that of excitement. I would be doing something new. I would be expanding my boundaries. I would be having an adventure. By no means was I sure about this, but I at least managed to make some space for it amidst the worry.
I got lost on the way there, ending up at a reservoir. There, I flagged down some nice people who told me how to get to the mall, a mere half-mile away. Huge as I had imagined it to be, the mall had three levels of both stores and parking.
To my surprise and relief, shopping carts abounded in the lot. This made the job of hauling the desktop to the Apple Store a lot easier. I was about to take a cart when a young woman walked by and offered to lift the computer into it. I so appreciated this kind act. (When you become a senior citizen, you learn how nice people can be.)
The guy at the Genius Bar was knowledgeable and explained everything he was doing. Though I was sad to have to leave the computer there for diagnostic work and repair of a failed hard drive, I felt it was in good hands.
When I got home, I saw one of the repair people from the complex where I live. He said that if I ever needed help carrying anything heavy, I should call him. He’d be glad to help.
Instead of a disaster, I had an adventure. I learned that I could find and negotiate the big mall and met friendly and helpful people.
Most importantly, I expanded both my geographical and mental boundaries. Am I ready for more adventures? Well, next month I’m invited to two picnics in unknown areas, and at one of them I don’t expect to know too many people. I’ll be there.