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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

37. Not so good at being led

So a few weeks ago, I mentioned that Matt and I had starting training for a run in Angkor Wat.   It was going relatively well -- to begin with.  And then as Matt’s runs started getting longer as he worked towards his half-marathon, I started opting out, preferring to concentrate on trying to improve my time for the 10km. Perhaps concerned we were not spending enough time together, Matt decided to come along to one of my ‘lone’ runs, saying he had checked it out on Google Maps and was going to lead me on a different route (but of the same distance) to ‘challenge’ me.  Okay.  I like challenges now and again.  So off we went. 

Up, down and around we went along a route different from my usual path to the Botanic Gardens.  It was relatively uneventful.  That is, until we grappled with the varying routes within the Gardens and found ourselves having to double back a few times.  As it felt like we were constantly getting a little lost, I pointedly asked my ‘fearless leader’ if he knew where we were going.  Matt’s overly confident “of course” was met with my exasperated, “You are so stubborn! You NEVER admit it when you are lost!”  Needless to say, he was not happy with me.  We continued the ‘meander’ (an ‘adventure’ in his mind!) in silence. Finally, I spotted something familiar and it looked like we were back on track.  “YAY!” cried my now-weary feet.  That’s when Matt signaled we should veer off the bloody beaten trail -- AGAIN!  By now, fed-up and tired, I could barely hold back and serendipitously chanced-upon a sign pointing home (but was contrary to the direction he wanted us to head).  When I brought it to his attention, he snapped, “Just go your own way!”;  to which I mumbled a cuss and ran off. 

A similar thing happened when Faith was a new-born.  As first-time parents, we were pretty clueless and poor Faith was not easy to ‘settle’.  One particular time, my mother-in-law said I was probably just holding the baby wrong, insinuating it was my fault.  Relieved for some expert advice, I gladly handed Faith over to her, eager to learn the ‘correct way’.  She wasn’t able to calm Faith.  I think I mumbled something along the lines of, “If you are not an expert, then don’t pretend to be one” and walked into my room, slammed the door, and had a cry.   Harsh, I know.

And here lies the problem:  To begin with, I am RUBBISH at being led.  I like to chart my own course.  Simple as that.  If you insist on taking over, telling me you have the ‘knowledge’ and I choose to let you lead me, but it transpires that actually, it was just an overstatement on your part, I find it very hard to deal with.  As such, I try to not put myself in a situation where I have to rely on someone, preferring to be the person relied upon.  And yes, it can it a problem.

Last night, at the end of a curriculum talk, I found myself leaving Faith’s new school with an unexpected passenger.  As we left the hall, and I led us towards the direction of where I thought my car was, my new traveling partner stopped me and pointed out where the garage was.  My explanation of where I had ACTUALLY parked my car was met with a skeptical “really?” and as we continued along, she kept loudly suggesting taking varying routes to my car and continually referred to the ‘OTHER’ car park.  I should mention this woman is not only as NEW to the school as I was, but has only just arrived in Singapore, didn’t drive, had NEVER navigated through ANY of the three garages the school housed AND was NOT with me when I parked my car in the first place.  But somehow, she believed she knew better in this instance!  Luckily I found my car minutes later, but with a now-pounding headache, could not wait to offload my ‘expert’ rider.  As it turned out, she was an ‘expert’ on quite a wide variety of things – which I learnt ALL about, throughout the very long 10-minute drive.  Sigh. Surely NOBODY can be the expert on EVERYTHING!

So I will end my rant by accepting that while I readily confess to ignorance and often admit liability so that expectations are managed, not everybody feels that way.  As such, I will simply have to work harder on my trust issues, and learn to let others ‘captain’ my path now and again without expecting perfection, as well as becoming more relaxed about just going with the flow.  Oh, and stay away from  people who are ‘experts’ on everything – if only for my own sanity!


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