Mansa could not wait to make it to the Columbia Shopping mall for some retail therapy. As the project manager of a successful architectural firm, she had been overworked to her core and was seeking some relief. Months of stringent deadlines left her “gasping for air” so on this Saturday, with no deadlines in tow, she began her 20-minute drive to the mall. Armed with coupons and a strategy for securing good deals, she begun dreaming about the new shoes and clothes that awaited her. For some inexplicable reason, she did not immediately realize that she had missed her turn into the mall. After driving for a few more minutes, she noticed the error and tried to turn around but alas, she took another wrong turn and was now headed in a direction opposite from the mall. I have been this way several times, I can’t believe I missed my turn, Mansa yelled. Soon, she chanced upon another exit. Surely, this should take me to the mall, she surmised, and she began her journey back to the mall. As she drove gleefully, she noticed that final turn was leading her to an unfamiliar place. Out of curiosity, she continued down that path until she chanced upon a beautiful lake surrounded by green pastures, a trail hike, restaurants, and beautiful flowers. There were canoes all around for those who wanted a tour on the water. The air smelt and felt different, the weather was perfect and there were benches and reading areas for people to just sit around and relax. This beautiful scenery so captivated her she decided to immerse herself in the delights of the moment. It was an eclectic mix of calm and joy. I can spare some 30 minutes here just to look around and then I will make it to the mall, she thought. It was a secret place out of heaven, a place to retreat, a place to be close to nature once again, and she was determined to explore further.
First, Mansa soaked in the beautiful scenery. She looked as far as her eyes could see to the end of lake and beheld the magical view of what seemed like the clouds touching the water. This experience was so charming, and the view was the most spectacular she had even seen. None of her fancy and well acclaimed architectural designs could compare to this picturesque view. Next, she watched the ducks swim in the lake and witnessed them being fed by strangers. What a remarkable sight. Then, she took a brisk walk on the 2-mile trail and encountered others doing same. She struck up random conversations with visitors who were there to unwind. Several had been to this lake countless times and were filled with stories of how a simple trip down the lake had refreshed their soul. What was supposed to be a 30-minute diversion led to a 3-hour experience. Rather than being exhausted like she would have from a mall trip, Mansa was refreshed. It was just what she needed after months of rigorous headlines.
O how wrong I was to have thought that my only solace to relieving stress was to be found from retail therapy. And to think that I had no knowledge about the existence of this place until now is even more heart breaking. I would have saved myself from many a woe if only I knew about this place. From now on, I will visit this place, I will flourish here, and I will tell others about this haven as well.
Morale of the story Mistakes are typically viewed as “bad things” but we know from Mansa’s experience that hers was a happy mistake. It led to a beautiful experience, not to mention that she did not need to spend any money. Perhaps the saying is true that “the best things in life are free”.
Many a clothing design started off as happy mistakes. We will err as humans and it behooves us to make the best out of every mistake. So, I humbly ask you “have you made a mistake? Was it a happy mistake? If it was happy, great. If it was a sad mistake, did you learn something out of it to make the mistake profitable to you in the end? Are you a better person because of a sad mistake? Don’t crush yourself because of a mistake. Learn to lighten up a bit.