In sharing the details of a trip overseas, a good friend casually remarked, “I love being lost in new places.” He didn’t skip a beat with this revelation, just continued excitedly through more stories of his adventures. Later, the phrase resonated in my ears, finally, clamoring enough for me to pay attention.
I figured the “clamoring” was for a reason, so I dove into the idea and feeling of being “lost”. I found myself in some interesting territory. I don’t know that I have ever consciously gotten up any morning and said to myself “My goal is to get lost today.”
The phrase “being lost” doesn’t get used a lot as something good. Imagine when asked about the status of a project, we respond “Hmm… here’s where we’ve been, this is what we see, but for the most part, we’re lost.” Nope. We’re taught to develop an internal GPS to have answers about where we are and where we’re going.
So, wondering if I could make friends with “being lost,” I hung out in the murky waters. At first, it was a scary notion, laden with movie scenes of dark forests and alleys. Then, I realized that I frequently find myself in the midst of the unknown. Isn’t this the same thing?
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. There are times when the unknown feels like an adventure, like “being lost” felt to my friend. But other times, the unknown feels scary. “What’s the difference?” I wondered.
Simple. When I intentionally set out on an adventure – a new project, friendship, menu for dinner – I expect the unknown. Finding myself in unfamiliar territory is part of the fun and adrenaline rush.
But, if my intention is to end up at a particular place and I can’t find my way, the unknown doesn’t feel the same. The feeling of “scary” arrives when I don’t know where I am and I feel vulnerable.
My conclusion now feels like it should not have been a surprise. That is, since we live life in the next, unknown moment, which we get whether we planned it or not, the idea of “being lost” comes down to attitude. Whether I think I am or I’m not, I’m right.
So, the deep dive helped me re-calibrate my thoughts. Now, when I wake up, I don’t think about my “plans” for the day. I feel the day as an adventure waiting to happen.
I imagine all the things I’ll do that I know and all the new things that will arrive, unplanned or not. And I promise myself that if I feel “lost”, I’ll remember to note “Ready or not, here I come!” and savor every moment of my daring adventures with a big “Yahoo!”
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren.
Stand still. The forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.
David Wagoner, copyright 1976
Thanks for reading.