The Anatomy Of A U-Turn

You drive on a normal day, on a normal road, at a normal speed. Suddenly, the road in front of you seems to abruptly end. Sometimes you see a building when the road should be, or a forest, or the sea. That’s when you realize you are approaching a U-turn.

I like U-turns. Probably because I like them, I get to experience a lot of them, lately.

What follows is a short anatomy of how these U-turns look, and how they should be approached.

The first reaction when you stumble upon a U-turn is, obviously, surprise. And when you’re surprised, you often freeze, because you don’t know exactly what to do next. If you drive, you just slow down with a vigorous brake.

As you start to recompose the geography around, and see where the road is going, you start following through. You’re still in the first part of the U-turn, you didn’t reach the half of the curve. So you roll slowly, very careful, trying to stay on your lane, ready for anything.

After you get over the first half, the other part of the road is gradually becoming visible. You are finally able to accelerate a little, now that you have a bit of perspective. And when you finally get out of the second half of the curve, you start cruising again. You see everything clearly, nothing is obstructing your view, and you can roll again.

By now, you should have realized I’m not talking about driving, necessarily. I’m talking about a different type of U-turns. The ones that life throws at you every once in a while, probably just to mess with you. When I said I get to experience a lot of U-turns lately, that’s what I was referring to.

Things seem to move in a certain direction, then, out of nowhere, something happens and the road that you thought you know, it’s not there anymore. You have to slow down with a vigorous brake, and then to gently adjust to the newly created circumstances.

I guess the most annoying part is not the slowing down, or the adjustment, these are ok. The most annoying fact is that you don’t see the second part of the road yet. You don’t see where are you heading after you solve the curve, after you get back on track. This lack of visibility makes you think “it’s all over”. In a way, it is, the road is not going in the same direction, definitely. But there’s still a road. A new one, with unfamiliar surroundings, unfolding unknowingly.

It’s frustrating and disconcerting at first. Because of that, I used to be quite rigid in managing these U-turns. Sometimes I was so rigid to the point that I didn’t accept there is a U-turn at all, and continued cruising forward, trying to make a road where there wasn’t any. Sometimes I succeeded – when I got lucky – but most of the time I got badly hurt.

So, I learned to go with flow, to let it all be and just accept that a new part of the road, one that I have no idea how it will look like, will soon unfold.

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

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