It’s been a couple weeks now of feeling lost. My plan to accept I didn’t have the answer only worked for awhile. At some point, the mild annoyance started to creep back into my life. To cope with it, I looked outside myself, half knowing the answer would not be in the new hobbies I tried, to bring more joy into my life, nor the more in-depth conversations I would have with my dear friends for comfort. However, the solace of knowing I was fairing pretty well, was not alone, and had new ideas to self-reflect upon at least made me feel as I was not thrashing around aimlessly. I was trying, even if I wasn’t succeeding. The realization that this would not be the last time of feeling lost began to dawn upon me. That every few years, I would wonder and question what my life was about. The journey is still just beginning. Even though the answer will most often not be given to me directly, each successive step leads me to the next one, which will eventually lead me to my answer. And it’s in taking the first ‘wrong’ step that will lead me to the next ‘wrong’ step that will eventually get me closer to where I need to be. So if you really think about it, none of them are wrong steps at all. Each step is a tiny clue or hint that leads and informs the next action. This is what helped me get out of being lost.
1. Mourn whatever it is you are sad, angry, disappointed, or confused about.
2. Once you mourn that, see if you still feel sad, angry, disappointed, or confused. If you are still feeling unsettled were you mourning and working through the right thing or do you have many things to address in succession?
3. Keep repeating the cycle of mourning different things you need to until you get to the point where you are either tired of feeling like crap or you feel strong enough to act and solve your problem.
4. Take baby steps to seek out your answer. You can start by trying new hobbies, socialize with old and new friends, truly relishing what you know for sure you like and enjoy. Write out your thoughts. Sit and think, self reflect, and work through your thoughts for 15 min or an hour a day.
5. Watch Steve Jobs’ or Oprah Winfrey’s commencement speeches. Watch Randy Pausch’s the Last Lecture and read the book. Watch Team Hoyt’s video set to the song I Can Only Imagine. Watch the PBS documentary This Emotional Life by Daniel Gilbert. Watch movies.
6. Start reading books that will answer the questions you have or help you feel validated and less alone in the situation you are in. One of the best books I just discovered is M. Scott Peck’s THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED. These may also help you: Ambiguous Loss by Pauline Boss, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie, It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Seeking Peace by Mary Pipher, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and Falling Apart in One Piece by Stacy Morrison.
7. Once you have more clarity and can think straight, have the courage to face your fears and solve your problems while getting enough sleep and exercise and not self-medicating. Almost anything can become a self-medicating defense mechanism - overeating, drinking, drugs, shopping, gambling, avoidance, or denial. As long as you are coping and functioning in your daily life for the most part, that may be all you can do that day. And that’s okay. :)