Most people fear being lost, they wonder how they will get to where they need to be. Lost people by definition are lacking an understanding of where they are and more importantly how to get where they want to be.
If you put a young urban person deep in the woods at night, someone who has spent little to no time in the wild their fears grow and they will have a terrible night. But if you put an experienced and well trained person far in the back country away from the lights and comforts of modern life they may have a difficult time but they might even enjoy some aspects of their time. Surviving being lost means you were successful, while dying well that is a failure in anyone’s book.
So when I say that I enjoy being lost I mean it. I have an almost unerring sense of geographic direction. I can almost always determine which way is north, or where I parked my car, or even when hundreds or thousands miles away point towards the direction of home.
This is not bragging, it was something I was born with, an innate talent or gift. I love maps, globes and compasses, but that is probably because I so easily understand them and what they represent. Being lost is pretty novel experience for me so I enjoy it when it does occur. I occasionally get turned around in a new area and enjoy being surprised of where I turn up. Unfortunately this only happens once because once I get the lay of the land down I can find my way back even years later.
Recently I have become lost in my personal life, my wife of twenty-two years left me. My life was very stable, I knew what I believed, I knew who I was going to spend my life with and at least for an extended time frame, where I was going to live. A consequence of my marriage dissolving was my suburban home of fourteen years was returned to the bank and I had to move into a neighborhood in a major city for the first time in my life. I no longer have a car or television set (both my choice). I had my bicycle stolen and my first friend in the new neighborhood died suddenly one night. Looking forward I will have to find another place soon so the ground underneath my feet is still far from solid. But over the last 22 months these circumstances have helped me rediscover things I had forgotten about myself.
I have realized that being lost is more of an adventure and not to be feared. Maybe what comforts me when I am lost is I know myself. I know who I am and what I am capable of.
One of the first rules of being successfully lost is taking stock, what do you have on you that can help you survive. Personally I am realizing how much material things are tying me down, that is pretty obvious when you are looking to move, again. I lost my two story house, three bedroom home with a garage and moved to a small row house with a tiny backyard and soon some unknown place. Do I really need two couches when I really don’t do any entertaining. How many clothes do I need when I look at a full closet and realize I haven’t worn a majority of them in a long time.
Being successfully lost forces you to remaining calm and focus on the positive instead of the negative.
One positive thing I have relearned is I really like talking to women. During my marriage I avoided friendships with women; for a variety of reasons. I have worked in very male dominated professions, the U.S. Army, law enforcement and prisons; also I did not think it was appropriate for a married man to have new female friends unless they were along his wife.
But over the past several months I have enjoyed talking to women more than ever. Don’t get me wrong my male friends have been a rock to me during this time, and the people I am closest to are my mates who not only share a long history with me but share similar interests. Women though are so different from men. I can talk to a man for about ten to fifteen minutes and I can pretty much tell you what my next five conversations will cover. However with women I have no idea what a conversation will entail, will we talk about their work? their favorite food? or perhaps what ticked them off on the way to work today?
I have met so many fascinating women, this is incredibly positive allowing me to forget the negatives of my favorite female friend leaving me. I am not interested in dating or any other romantic liaisons or affairs, but I love to spending time with women.
I was working at a hospital a couple of weekends back guarding a prisoner. Surprise, surprise I met a nurse. She was kind, smart and funny, and yes she was cute, with long reddish hair and some freckles that remind me of Lucy Liu, she had worked in Harrisburg for a while for a Senator then as a lobbyist and had a Master Degree in Public Affairs, then when her father got sick she went back to school and became a nurse and has been one for a couple of years. I made a half hearted attempt to get her phone number, I probably didn’t give it my full effort because I was undecided weather I should or not, internally debating if I had mourned the end of marriage enough. (Still a little uncertain on that issue.)
Then there matter of my personal beliefs about God, religion and faith. Let me just say without going into details my views have changed. What once was a certainty in my mind has now become less so. But I still know who I am, and why I am here.
So I will continue discovering the world around me and finding my way, but along with everything I already know, I am really enjoying being lost and uncertain.