“At what point did you begin to feel lost?” A question teachers usually ask when a student seems unable to grasp the concept of the lesson, but really, it should be a question asked more often. If your answer is “I’m not lost, what are you talking about,” then good. The sass was a little unnecessary, but kudos to you for already having something people can spend years searching for and not even coming close to finding. But if your answer is “Right around the part when…,” then you better check yourself and where you’re headed.
We all want a little spice in our life; a reprieve from the daily grind, whether it be going to whichever university you belong to, or a 9-to-5 job you can’t stand but stay in because of the decent pay. So go on a little journey. Take a backpack and fill it up with the few necessities you think are needed to survive your trek to wherever, but whatever you do, don’t forget to bring something that keeps you off the broken road. A map, a compass, markers for a waypoint, anything. Take it from me; at first, traveling without directions seems like a lot of fun. Having no one to tell you where you should be going or rush you anywhere, and nothing to stop you from doing what and being where you want to sounds like the kind of liberation you can only dream about in your desk. Paper due tomorrow but your friends are inviting you for a few drinks? #YOLO. Just met someone but things are getting hot, heavy and frisky? Go ahead, who’s gonna stop you? Being a one-man hiking expedition can be fun, but be careful of the road you choose.
Sooner or later, clarity starts to set in. You start to feel like you’re just going in circles, that you’ve already been here before. The same tree, the same pattern of rocks, the same shape of the broken twigs, the same situations but at a different time. Before you realize it, you’ve fallen into a cycle again, just in a different package. What used to be a routine of dull paperwork and button-pinching is substituted for a new drill of disregard for yourself and the instinct to please your base desires in any way, may it be long nights of inebriation with friends or weekends at the club hooking up with almost anyone that passes with your standard of decent. Strangest thing about people though, they never seem to accept that we’re lost until there is no way out. Only until they lose sight of who and where they were when they started this trip do they have that “oh shit” moment.
Only when you finally have that epiphany of your own will things finally start to get back on track. The first step to a lot of things is acknowledgment and acceptance., or so I hear. Not that far from the truth, actually. Admitting that you need directions is a good step towards getting out of the woods and back to whatever you had before. Some people, though, refuse to simply admit that they are lost even when they clearly have no idea what they’re doing and where they want to be going. They revel in the confusion and spontaneity of “doing something new every night” even if that ends up being what they do all the time, but there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s really your cup of tea. If your idea of a good time is to wait and see which way the wind blows and follow it, then by all means do what you’re inclined to do. For others, admission is the start of another journey that proves to be much more taxing than the one already undertaken. You’re stuck way in the deep end, running low on supplies, and you’re too tired to continue. It took so much out of you just to make it to the middle; do you have enough to make it back?
They say that when nothing goes right, go left. Now if only I knew where left was…