Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Art of Being Lost

When I was in 5th grade, one of my favorite teachers taught me that, “I don’t know,” was an acceptable answer and to not be afraid to say it. This basic lesson had to be explained to us after repeated terrified expressions of the deer-in-the-headlights variety whenever she called on us that rendered victims mute, especially since we didn’t raise our hand. Later on we learned the better thing to do would be to go find the answer, but lesson number one was there should be no shame in admitting when you don’t know something. She said it takes a strong person to admit they are weak, or have a fault, and don’t know everything. Afterall, nobody is perfect.

So I proclaim I don’t know anymore. And I’m still getting used to the idea that it’s okay to not know all the time where I’m going, where I want to be, or how to get there. This is the difficulty of too much self-awareness, living without distractions, and living a life free of self-medicating reflexes. Where do you go from here when your life has always been lived so happily, pragmatically with such a goal-oriented focus?

Also in elementary school, my best friend was straight A student. Her sister was a very average student. While her sister got tons of praise for bringing her C average up to a B average, my friend constantly got straight A’s and her parents never batted an eye. My friend almost secretly wished she was her sister. Maybe she would even go so far to let her grades drop and bring them back up again, just so her parents would appreciate all her hard work, although it is admittedly foolish. I could understand the sentiment and desperation though.

Everything is good, but not great. I’m not unhappy. I am also not overly happy for no reason like I usually am. The great news is, my closest friends couldn’t tell unless I mentioned it, so it’s obviously not that bad. I was spiritually tired, emotionally exhausted, and now in an improvement, I am etching toward just being plain bored - only a tad, a smidge - of being lost. Some days I feel fairly normal and other days maybe stretched a little thin.

Elizabeth Gilbert said that sometimes just waiting and seeing is often underestimated as a strategy. I decided to take that route - to NOT muse about how to fix feeling lost. I sit with it and accept I don’t have the answer now and may not for a couple weeks. In my quest to improve my life, the constant focus became a source of mild annoyance in and of itself. So begrudgingly I learned to accept it. I’m not sure where this will lead, but at least the burden isn’t looming over me.

The internal voice that constantly monitored if I had a solution to my woes no longer drones. My attitude now is,"So, I’m lost. Okay. Who cares? Now what? What’s next?" I finally got to this place because I eventually got fed up with myself. I always do. The pressure to be living my best life every single second is gone. In a small way, I gave myself permission - permission to not care, not stress, not fret, and not know the answer right this very second. I’m giving myself permission to say I don’t know. Maybe next month I’ll know, or at least have more perspective on how to find the answer... For now, admitting I don’t know is all I need to know. It is the answer.

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