As the guy behind the cash register handed me change, he chuckled, ‘You look lost.’
I was taken aback a little bit. This is the same corner shop, on the same street, where I buy the same ticket each day. I am definitely not lost. But I had a sneaking suspicion it was the look of bewilderment on my face that led him to this conclusion.
Everything looked the same. Everything felt the same.
I wake up each morning, go to work, come home, eat and then sleep. Like deja vu, I do the same thing the following day. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Like a hamster running on a wheel. Not really going anywhere. There was no final destination. It was true. I was lost. Not exactly sure where I was going in life.
As a kid, the plan I was given was simple to follow. Go to school, work hard, go onto college, graduate, get a good job that pays well. Then settle down, get married, have some kids, watch them grow up and let them repeat the same plan. Then you will eventually retire and enjoy your mature years taking Caribbean cruises or playing golf.
Despite having a plan in place, I lost my focus. I lost my passion. I followed the rules and got lost along the way. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life anymore. The self-deprecating thoughts that ran through my mind of not being good enough, smart enough, funny enough, strong or confident enough had exacerbated my feelings of inadequacy.
I had become a bystander to my own life, a spectator to my own show. While those around me continued to progress in their own lives, I remained stagnant, stuck in a box.
But being lost was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
I began writing again. A passion that I have had since I was four years old. I did not know if anyone would take particular interest in my thoughts and the words that I write on paper. However, to my surprise, Thought Catalog published my first piece. This was the impetus I needed to keep on writing. I had suppressed my creativity for so long I had forgotten what I truly loved. It felt therapeutic to write about my experiences in life and to share it with people.
I began to explore other interests, from travelling, to meditation, doing yoga and learning a language. I realised that my happiness is not defined by my career or college degree. Our happiness can be found through real experiences, from the people we meet, to the places we travel to and the pursuit of our passions.
I am becoming more comfortable with feeling a little bit uncomfortable in life.
Not having all the answers does not freak me out as much as it did before. I am no longer trying to control every aspect of my life. I want to wake up every morning, willing to seek out new opportunities, to be fully present and to be an active participant in my own life. I no longer want the fear of failing or losing to rule over me. I want to create my own path, to forge my own future and to choose my own destiny.
I now know that it was an important phase in my life to feel lost. It pushed me to seek out what I truly want in life. To try new things and to escape my comfort zone. I know it won’t be an easy road and I may lose direction but I am on a path of self-discovery.
Maybe we all need to feel lost at times in order to face the fear head on, so that we can come out at the other end with a growing confidence and a little more resilience.
To know that we may make mistakes along the way can be a rewarding risk as it presents an opportunity to learn from those experiences. Because to live a life not pursuing what truly fulfils us will lead to a limited and unfulfilling existence. And that truly sucks!