So . . . walk down Cellini till a red sign,
then turn down Marcona till I see the 1861 building . . .
and—there’s Fiamma! I mastered directions to and from my school!

My siblings think it’s bizarre, my mother says it’s pathetic, my friends suppose it’s comical, and frankly—so do I.

It’s just that special quality some people possess, the one that those who don’t have will never understand, and the one I have learned to be proud of. No sense of direction.

I wonder what it would be like to be able to find my way around on my ownSometimes I wonder what it would be like to be able to find my way around on my own. How convenient it must be, to go just about anywhere, stroll around Milan, and find my way back. Take walks, experiment with different routes . . . explore! What a secure feeling to know where you are, where you have to go, and how to get there. It’s not fun to depend on others for directions, to hope they know where they are going, just follow them, and then when we get lost I can be of no help because, well, I didn’t know where we were in the first place.

But then sometimes I wonder about a different sense of direction. A sense of direction for the real roads of life. It’s such a secure feeling to know exactly where you are, where you have to go, and how to get there. It’s not fun to depend on others for directions, to hope they know where they are going, just follow them, and then when they get lost you can’t even help yourself because, well, you didn’t know where you were in the first place.

I like to practice my directions by checking out the street signs. And while I do, I become more familiar with the roads around me. I look for my own street signs: Why do I feel so good today? Why do I get so bothered every time she asks a favor of me? When do I feel most comfortable and content with myself? What about that argument just made me lose it? Am I really enjoying this?

I’m learning to not overlook or undermine these signs. These signs are important. Sometimes they are easier to not notice, or to forget that they exist. But the street signs are there to help us stay on track. I get to know my yellow lights, my reds and greens, staying in touch with myself and learning my own roads, my unique twists and turns.

I’m learning not to overlook or undermine these signsI used to walk my same four streets, the only ones I felt comfortable on which to tread. But now there’s so much more to discover, so much more to enjoy! I dare to take little walks and venture out of my comfort zone. I find a new place inside myself. On my way I learn more: there are always new signs, new experiences, and different streets to take notice of. Sometimes I get lost on an unfamiliar road—I get stressed, I’m not in the mood for anyone, or I just don’t have patience. At times like these I try think back to my familiar streets, the ones I cross every day. It helps me find my way back when I know where I started out, and I remember the signs along the way.

It’s great to have a sense of direction.