the long way with obstacles

When I was learning to walk my parents would stand a few feet apart and try to coax me to walk from one to the other. I would take a few steps and stop, looking from one to the other and giggling but remaining in between them. At first, my mother was concerned that perhaps I didn't want to take sides, that if I walked to one instead of the other it would be interpreted as preferential. One afternoon my mother was in the kitchen; I was sitting on the floor while my father was preparing for a lecture or maybe Bible study. Stacks of books surrounded him, big encyclopedia type books, and maps. I pulled myself up using the table and half walked/half stumbled through the small space between the books and the chair and made it almost to the kitchen before falling/sitting down along the way. If there was an easy route to where I needed to be, I never took it. Instead I challenged myself by choosing a path that to others seemed puzzling. I needed to figure it out myself.

My mother reminded me of this when I complained recently that I feel like I've gone in a circle and that I could have made the process easier by trusting my instincts earlier in the process. I wish I had focused my comps. better, been more vigilant and proactive with my research. There are about a million things I could have done to make it easier on myself. It's like the Dixie Chicks song, "Takin' the Long Way:"

Guess I could have made it easier on myself

But I
I could never follow
No I
I could never follow

Well I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found
Takin' the long way
Takin' the long way around

So, yeah I've always done things the hard way, the long way, my way. It isn't about being stubborn, not really. I try to take help when it's offered, when I need it. But the difficulty is about finding my way, knowing that it's my take on something whether it be teaching or research or cooking. I make a lot of mistakes and though there are other ways to the same end, I have to make my own way, which doesn't mean I ignore advice or refuse help and support. Instead it means that I don't always take the map with me; I create it on the way. It may be chaotic and messy but it's mine. And I think there's something to be said for that.