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  • Writer's pictureJeff Monday

The Art of Getting Lost

We are, by nature, uncomfortable with being lost. It doesn't matter if it's in a strange city, a deep forest, or life itself. We hate being lost. It's scary. Uncertainty is unsettling.

But, out of all the hard lessons I've learned over the years, I think learning how to get lost is one of the most important.

Back when I graduated grade school, my aunt gave me a card with the quote "One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." (Andre Gide) She also didn't realize the card said "Congrats on your high school graduation" so I gave her back the card so she could give it back to me four years later. Point being, we can't see new sights, eat new foods, meet new people if we never explore. And exploring often, usually means getting lost. At least a little bit.

When I'm in an unfamiliar city, I love nothing better than to get lost. These days, it's actually rather difficult to get well and truly lost, especially in a city. Even if you're in a foreign country and don't speak the language, there's a good chance you'll have a basic understanding of the place. The river is to the south, for instance. Or the mountain is to the west. Follow this street and you'll end back at your hotel. Take the red line. So really, you can get lost in a limited way. Eventually, you'll find your way home.

In the wilderness, it may take a bit longer so hope you have enough food packed. But even then...river is to the east. Keep the sun on your left. Basic directions and voila! You found the road again. Just watch out for that cliff.

Now, getting lost in life is probably the most challenging. And frustrating. And stressful. How many times have you stepped back and wondered "What the hell am I doing? Where is my life going?" Those are tough questions to answer. And scary AF. Especially when you realize that you need to change direction if you're ever going to get out of the those metaphoric woods and back on the path you need to be on. A relationship, a job, whatever.

Here's the thing that I've learned though: it's sometimes the best thing ever to be well and truly lost. Seriously. It forces you to look, really look at your surroundings. Your survival instincts kick in. You fight for yourself. You blaze a new trail. Scary? Sure. Stressful? Ya betcha. But necessary? Absolutely.

Once again I find myself a bit lost and I'm looking around wondering "Where do I go from here?"

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

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