Feeling Lost In Your Life? Here’s What To Do About It…

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2 May, 2013 · 11 comments

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.

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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

 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Poul Brix May 2, 2013 at 10:01 am

Hi Leah,
Some good points you’re making (as usual) and I remember playing in the woods as a kid where the aim of the game was to get lost and have the adventure of finding your way back to “safety” and later in life when I was bumming round in Europe in an old van “#vanlife” we discovered that you need a map to get lost and we made a sport out of lostness. (yes I did)
So here’s to getting lost more ;-)
Cheers, Poul

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Leah May 2, 2013 at 10:11 am

Wow – a game where the aim is actually to get lost?! Maybe that’s what we should be doing more of…TRYING to get lost! Europe in a van? I don’t think I knew this…sounds like getting lost has been a lot of fun for you…

Yes, here’s to a lifetime of being lost, and a lifetime of adventure!

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Poul Brix May 3, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Yeah that was good times ;-)

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Cody Stevenson May 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Hey Leah! Great read and so much truth. I am throughly enjoying reading your take on life as it is pretty spot on with how I feel.

Like you I did everything I thought I was “suppose” to do. Got the job, got married, got the house, and make money at my super awesome corporate job (sarcasm). Now as I approach 30 I realize it is all crap and I can just feel the life being sucked out of me everyday.

Hopefully that is all going to change very soon though!

Going to go read lots more of your amazingly witty and inspiring stories now.

Cheers – Cody

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Leah May 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Hey Cody! Thanks for stopping by. Great to e-meet you on Twitter earlier – not sure how that happened, social media is a wonderful thing :-)
I think there must be thousands of people in our situation who went along with what they thought they were supposed to do, thinking that it would lead to success and happiness. Pretty annoying when you discover that really isn’t the case. I’m glad you’re stepping out of the box and deciding to pursue a different life.
I love your site (for anyone reading, check out Cody’s site at http://adaptdnation.com/), great design, great concept. It was your about page that got me – I guess because it resonated with my own experience. Looks like you just started earlier this year? Looking forward to seeing how you get on with it all and whether we really can earn $50,000 a month from passive income!

Leah

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Cody Stevenson May 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Haha, I think we have Allan Karl to thank for that! Such an inspirational guy. In fact he has inspired me to interview him. I need some new inspiration and he is a great person just for that.

I’ve actually never done an interview before, but I want to talk to Allan so I figured, “What the heck?” Maybe I will take some pointers from you and all your good interviews.

I did just start this year. Adapt’d Nation was launched on Feb. 25th 2013. However, I have been doing marketing and entrepreneurship for some time. I started my first business in 2007. Then after some life changes and some less than ideal decisions on my part. I took a job in the corporate world a little less than 2 years ago. I suppose I should be thankful for this though. It was the first real “Corporate America” experience I have had. I always knew that I wanted something more, something different than the normal person. My corporate job has really made me realize that though and Adapt’d Nation was born.

I appreciate the shout out and I defiantly look forward to connecting with you more. I am a firm believer that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

Cody

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Leah May 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Of course, Allan! Great guy – you’ll love chatting to him I’m sure. I’d never done an interview before either when I interviewed Selina back in December last year. It’s crazy the things you start doing when you give yourself permission.

It’s sounds like a good thing that you got to have your ‘corporate experience’ – just to realise that it’s not the way to go. It’s good to see what it’s like so you can see exactly what you’re not missing out on :-)

I definitely look forward to connecting with you more too. New blogs are a bit like babies – it’s nice to have other baby blogs to grow up with.

Speak soon.
Leah

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Dusty In Colorado May 3, 2013 at 12:29 am

Leah- This is the best piece you have written yet! I really like it. As you have probably picked up on from prior posts I too have been feeling lost. I just this week have sorta figured out to just relax. Embrace being lost…very cool!

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Leah May 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

Dusty, thank you! I’ve had some really lovely compliments on this piece which makes me very, very happy and I’m glad you enjoyed it too! For me, learning to relax (and I’m still not all the way there yet by any means) has been one of the MOST important parts of living a better life. I was always a worrier. I worried about every, tiny little thing. In the last few months that’s definitely started to change and I also recently did a meditation course which was amazing and I’ve noticed a big change after that too. I just think if you can learn to relax and enjoy the ‘not knowing’, the answers usually just come of their own accord. Hope you’re well? Leah

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Michelle, Northampton, England. September 30, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I typed into a google search ‘Feeling Lost in Life’ and came across your blog…just what I need to read right now.

I feel totally lost right now and am SO consumed each day by trying to figure out how to become ‘unlost’ and SO worried that I need to get my life ‘back on track’ that my focus is totally out of whack! I’m lost because at 33 I became a mum to a wonderful little girl and became a SAHM – not at all what was on my mapped out life agenda!

I’d worked in the cage of corporate life since my gap year at 25. Stuff. Process driven & Rigid. Hugely demanding. Life sucking. I ALWAYS knew it wasn’t for me, I utterly detested the confines of corporate ‘fellowship’! Yet when my flexible working request was declined, I wonder now WHY did it take me so many months (nearly 12 awful months in total!) agonising over the decision to leave….especially when my inherently profound gut feeling was to nurture my daughter instead of a career! I guess it was because of the fear of the loss of life as I knew it, I was clinging hopelessly to something I hated yet was the life I’d worked hard for and the only life I knew. A life that was socially acceptable and financially rewarding. The new life was bewildering and had no path.

So 18 moths have past since giving up work. Each day is a mix of hopeless job hunting, tidying the house, playing with my daughter and having the luxury of time with her that is priceless and never to be repeated….Oh and feeling lost…. When will I find a job? What DO I want to do in life? Why are there no good job opportunities for SAHM’s? What can I do to forge my own business? Quite often this ‘lostness’ seems to overshadow the time I spend with my daughter …and that is why I gave up work in the first place.

So this blog post has given me the insight to look at things with new eyes….. I need to stop worrying so much, stop focusing on that lost feeling and just enjoy what is in my life each day. And affirm to myself that this IS what I wanted after al and life WILL move forward into something much more ‘me’ when the time is right.

Thanks a good read.

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Leah October 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

Hi Michelle,
Thank you so much for posting this wonderful comment and sharing your story.
First, it’s a shame your company declined your flexible working request. It is still beyond me why companies are so against being more flexible for their employees when all the research and studies suggest that it’s a win win situation for all involved. However, it sounds like this was a blessing in disguise if it eventually led you to leave a job you didn’t want to be in. I often look back and in hindsight wonder why I stayed in jobs I didn’t like for so long but really I have to be grateful…if it weren’t for all those years and feelings, I doubt I’d be writing this blog right now which has turned out to be the best experience ever.

You know, it’s so tough not to be asking ourselves those questions all the time, ‘what do I want to do, when will I find a job?’ etc. and we spend a great deal of time worrying about finding the answers. But that worry really prevents us from finding the answers we’re looking for but it’s very difficult to let go of the worry and just let other things in.

What would be your ideal scenario? Working from home at your own business? Working for someone else a few days week either from home or elsewhere? Do you have an idea or ideas about how you’d ideally like to earn money? I think you’re in a very exciting position – you’ve already left your job, you have a daughter you love and now you’re open to anything and everything…you get to pick exactly what you want your life to look like! Everything in time, at the right time. Like you say, try to let go of the worry of being lost, enjoy your life and the time you have with your daughter and from that place of enjoyment rather than worry or fear I’m sure some answers will come.

I’m glad this post helped in some way. Leah xx

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