“This is your brain on GPS.”

“Love the one you’re with.” Or “love the place you’re in.” Both are a matter of being present to the here and now, mostly the here.

My last post was about the delight I feel in the specificity of my landscape, built and created, and about my desire to inhabit it well vs. wish I were elsewhere.

I ran across an article I’ve held onto about the way our brains are responding to GPS dependence. We are losing our spatial memories. And I believe we are also missing a lot of the journey. As simple as the thought is, it may bear some reflection: when I’m looking at a GPS screen, I’m not looking at my surroundings. I’m waiting for my Australian-accented escort to tell me that she is “recalculating” or that I need to turn right in five yards or whatever urgent instruction she needs to pass on to me. Whereas before I met her, I was noticing “Oh what a great funky neon sign that is,” or “It looks like someone is having a bake sale to finance a playground, or “How fun to see the mama duck and her babies crossing the road.”

“Not all who wander are lost,” they say. And “the journey is more important than the destination.”

And one way I can inhabit my town better (or notice the ones I visit) is to pay attention to the road map, set out and see if the road matches it, and then regroup if it doesn’t.

There’s more to life than being on time or never getting lost.  And if I resist the urge to rely on GPS, then when I’m in the nursing home, I’ll appreciate being able to find my way to the Bingo parlor without a hand-held device.


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