Don’t have a clue what you’re doing with your life? Feeling lost? Like you don’t know which way to turn? You want answers and you want them fast?
In October last year, whilst volunteering on a farm in Southern Turkey, I was told about a stunning viewpoint a couple of miles from where we were staying. One evening, exhausted from a day watering olive and almond trees and shifting rocks across the land with my weedy little arms, Pui Suan, one of the other volunteers who’d been there a while, offered to walk me and another of the newbies to the viewpoint.
Pui Suan was known amongst the volunteers for her terrible sense of direction, but she insisted she’d been to the viewpoint several times before and knew the way like the back of her hand. I was dubious, but I also wanted to see the view everyone had told me about. So in the early evening, we set off…
‘Just around the next corner’, she’d call from somewhere in front of us as she led us through a tangled mess of bushes. No one had ever walked this particular route before, that was for sure.
As the light started to fade, I became frustrated. Getting lost wasn’t part of the plan.
‘Do you even know where we are?’, I’d ask, irritated that my guide seemed to find the whole situation pretty amusing.
‘Just around the next corner, I’m sure this is the right way…’, the response would come again.
Several times I nearly turned back, grumbling under my breath that she didn’t have a clue where she was going.
But just as I’d made up my mind to give up, there we were. At the clearing on the cliff, looking out over the bay at Kas, the water sparkling in the light of the setting sun; the shadows of the mountains like a portal to another world.
That view. The immense beauty. The realisation that we’re part of something so much bigger. The smell of the warm summer evening. The sea. The mountains. The colours. The sounds. They’re one of the most beautiful memories I have from my trip to Turkey.
And yet I nearly missed out on it all. For fear of being lost.
When we’re lost, we look for a way not to be. And the sooner the better. We fear the unknown. It’s a natural instinct and has its uses. But the problem with trying so hard to solve our state of ‘lostness’ (yeah, I totally just invented a new word, go me!) is that it narrows our focus. We’re left with an all consuming worry about how we’ll find our way. The dilemma takes up all of our attention and consumes all of our energy.
And whilst our attention is zoomed in on this problem of being lost, the opportunities and possibilities that surround us slip by.
The society we live in requests that we have it all figured out and to know what we want. At 16 we’re expected to pick a few subjects that will shape our future studies. At 18 we’re forced to narrow that choice further. At 21 we’re let out into the world and magically expected to hit upon the career of our dreams. Really? Of the hundreds of thousands of possibilites that exist of what we might do with our lives, what are the chances that we’ll find that without at least a little searching?
And yet decide to embark on that search and you’ll be branded a drifter, someone without direction or drive and, maybe even lazy.
It’s time we started to view ‘being lost’ in a more positive light. What if being lost wasn’t a problem to be overcome as soon as possible, but an adventure to be lived and enjoyed? What if we could learn to look at being lost as our greatest opportunity? The chance to discover something new and unexpected.
So, if you’re feeling lost in your life and you’re not quite sure where you’re headed, CONGRATULATIONS! It’s time to start enjoying the adventure life is offering you. It’s time to open your eyes and notice the possibilities that surround you. They are there, I guarantee it. It’s time to say ‘sod it’ to getting it all figured out and a polite ‘**** you’ to the people who’d rather you settled for ‘good enough’ than embark on the greatest adventure of your life.
Be bold. Be brave. Trust that the next step will become clear when the time is just right. We’re all lost. We may as well enjoy it.
What’s your take on being lost? Get involved in the comments section below. See you there!
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland