Where are you, right now?

Younger reader will struggle to believe this. There actually was a day (before the blood moon) when none of us had a pocket sized GPS mapping system. (Gasp.) Automobile glove boxes were stuffed with misfolded, half-torn paper maps. Paper! Automobile! Those were common words, way back.

Women could neither read nor fold these paper maps, got lost and stopped in a convenience store or knocked on the door to someone’s home to get directions. Men could not read the maps either, got lost, blamed their wives, cursed their misfortune and drove around searching for a familiar landmark, which is why many families visited places like the Giant Ball of Twine in Kansas. Maps (not alcohol, mind you) increased the divorce rates and caused children to fear their fathers. Comedians made fun of men, which is something younger readers will understand.

Then, as angels sang in the background, the government opened up the Global Positioning System to commercial use. That Christmas, people gave away millions of plastic GPS systems to use in cars. The systems were better than paper maps but only because we now had room in the glove box for insurance papers and flashlights, but still not gloves.

The new, electronic GPS gadgets were unreliable and annoying. Every time one took a wrong turn they heard a woman’s voice say, “Redirecting,” which was not unusual as men had been listening to women redirecting them for many thousands of years. Unfortunately, these same men were often redirected by the GPS to drive into lakes and cow pastures. Comedians made a living, wives laughed, men cursed, children feared their fathers.

All new drivers were given a plastic GPS device, which got them lost immediately. Daughters called their fathers to report: “My GPS is telling me to drive into a lake. I am lost (crying voice).” So you won’t think this is sexist, studies show that sons, when lost, cursed their misfortune, increased the speed of their cars, threw the GPS device out the car window and drove around looking for a landmark, which is why so many teenage boys got home late. (OK, one study, one son did that.) The fathers laughed at their sons. The mothers grounded everyone. The fathers answered their daughters with the same urgent plea for information:

Where are you now?

This single statement is why daughters now curse like their brothers and very rarely call their fathers for directional advice. If they knew where they were, they would not be lost.

If you are at a transition point in your life, it feels like being lost. Do I go here or there? Should I stay or should I go? Should I start a business, go for the promotion, or remain content in a reasonably secure job? Do I go to grad school or find a career? Do I change careers? Do we open another store or wait for the rents to go down? Do we promote this person or fire that one? Transitions cause disruption, agony, fighting, and global conflict. None of that is necessary.

What is necessary in any transition is to know where you are right now.