Now I had two reasons to go to the bank.
The bank is in the town centre at the mall. I've avoided this task for two weeks! Ridiculous, right? Why? You ask? Why would I avoid the simple task of a quick trip to the bank?
The last time I tried one I apparently did something wrong. I'm still not quite sure what, but all the horns blasting at me told me I did. That was an easy one, or so I thought.
I've been a passenger enough times to know that much more challenging roundabouts awaited me en route to the mall. But, it was time to get in the driver's seat.
I set the GPS from school to the mall. The Boy and I were buckled up and ready to go. The first roundabout had stop lights - those help. I made it through to the third exit without any trouble. Anxiety, yes. Trouble, no. The next couple of smaller ones went smoothly as well. Finally, I got to the big one.
The big one has 6 exits with two additional entrances. The more exits means the more lanes the roundabout has. If you're in the wrong lane, you'll either be forced to exit early, or you'll miss your exit and keep circling round. My exit was the 5th or 6th one.
My first attempt went wrong. I was too far left and was forced off. There was a bus on my right, so I couldn't try to get back in... I had to take a 5-minute diversion and come back to the roundabout from another entrance. This time my exit was the 4th. This time I knew which lane not to be in. This time I knew which lane markings to follow; this roundabout is so big they actually write which exit each lane leads to! Never noticed that as a passenger.
My exit splits into two and a with a little luck I managed to take the right split and head straight up into the parking ramp. I was breathing again. I parked very close to the exit of the ramp - I have parking garage anxiety too, but never mind that.
We got our banking done and hung out at the library for a little while. We checked out 20 books (my daughters are heavy into chapter books these days!), then made our way home. Just two roundabouts this time; one where mine was the first exit (love that) and the second which had no traffic at all as it leads to one of those tiny little one-lane, barely-paved country roads. I'm not even sure two horse-drawn wagons could pass side-by-side, but I can finally take this road without any anxiety at all (mostly).
As I became aware of how relaxed I felt driving down this exceptionally narrow lane, which previously caused me panic, I reflected on the roundabouts I had conquered. Roundabouts, while intimidating to the unfamiliar driver, are forgiving. If you miss your exit, you can go around again for a second chance. In fact, you could keep driving in circles for as long as you need to until you're ready to get over and take your exit. If, like me, you end up taking an unintended exit, you just have to find your way back to the roundabout and give it another go.
Life's like that, isn't it? The signs will tell you where to go, but you have to choose when to follow them. You have to choose to take the exit. The Universe, or God, if you prefer, provides ample opportunities for us to take the path we're meant for. If we miss it, He puts it right back in front of us and gives us another chance. Don't just give up and go home - keep going in the direction you're meant to go.