Finding The Beauty in Wrong Turns

Beauty is everywhere, even in those seemingly wrong turns we take in life. 

We all arrive at those points in our lives when we have to make decisions. Hell, we make them every minute of every day. But I’m talking about the times when we sit at the fork in the road and must decide which way to go. A few weeks back I found myself exactly there, at said fork in the road. I was meeting friends in Tuna Canyon, a gorgeous but often overlooked and nondescript area in the Santa Monica Mountains. Due to no cell coverage, I was working with only word of mouth directions and a severe lack of road signs. So, there I sat…pondering which way to go. Left looks good…but maybe my gut says right? When we sit on the edge of decision, our bodies can’t help but react — heart says left, gut says right. Brain questions both.

Nearly two months ago, I made the decision to break off an engagement with my fiancé. We had a deep love for each other, our friendship reaching beyond anything I could ever hope for. However, it became clear that some aspects of our personal lives did not match up, especially with marriage staring us in the face. So there I sat with a heavy decision in my lap, my gut telling me one thing while my heart says another. Brain questions both.

I took a right that afternoon and steadily climbed the mountains. Higher and higher I weaved up the hill, but still no sign of my friends. I made a few more quick decisions, all of which turned out to be wrong turns. I quickly realized that my initial move at the bottom of the hill was, indeed, wrong. Ugh, so much time wasted and still no closer to my destination. Frustrated and disappointed, I impatiently wiggled my car around and turned back down the mountain.

Ending our relationship was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, and for awhile I questioned myself. Did I make a wrong turn? Did I make the wrong decision in starting over? Am I driving uphill only to find that I have made a mistake and now must turn around?

I slowly worked myself back down the canyon that morning to try my luck in another direction.  As I was questioning myself and replaying the turns I had mistakenly made, I drove into a clearing that presented one of the most breathtaking views I have ever encountered in my life. I was immediately taken aback and my garrulous mind fell quiet. I was the only one on the vacant road — I stopped for a moment and just looked…just looked out my window at all that lay around me. The Pacific Ocean was on full display. Its teal water sparkling in front of me without anything obstructing my view. The quiet sky had no beginning, no end. The clouds rolled passed me, unconcerned and airy. I felt still…composed, blessed. No longer was I cursing my “wrong” turn, but instead issuing open thanks for the opportunity to bask in this natural beauty. Had I not taken that first turn on the bottom of the mountain, I would have never experienced this, possibly ever, in my life.

I sit in my best friend’s kitchen as I write this today. She is my medicine on the rough days and has reminded me that there is nothing like the love and support between friends. I feel lighter… somehow my energy has been lifted, and in that recognition and perspective lives the beauty.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

We all make decisions and sometimes, ultimately, end up feeling like some of them lead us the wrong way. But if we look closely and are open to the possibility, those turns end up being the most beautiful.

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

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8 years ago

This article was seriously so beautiful, I think this is something everyone can somewhat relate to. Sometimes it’s the way we look at the situation, finding a way to appreciate every turn that life throws at us.
➳ Jessica

8 years ago

Besides this beautiful and though-provoking article the photos are magical! I don’t think that there are wrong turns in your life, I think that everything is meant to happen and you can learn from every failure.

8 years ago

WOW! The feels. This article is so well written and beautiful. I love your’e take on life and life’s moments. Oftentimes wer’e delt cards that are hard to play. I feel that same feeling of confusion as I stand here at the end days of my senior year before college. Life is interesting that way-but I’m ready for it.


8 years ago

This post is so beautiful Joanna!


fp joanna
8 years ago

Dylana, Rabecca, Jessica, and Michelle — thank you gals. xx, Joanna

8 years ago

This. is amazing.