To me, the definition of being lost is constantly being suffocated by uncertainty in many aspects of my life – be it work, my love life, or my academics and future career. This suffocation is what has ultimately lead to my greatest fear: a phobia of failure. I can’t help but fear that by NOT “having my shit together” at the age of 21 that my life is now doomed to spiral downwards into a deep pit filled with disappointment. In a chain reaction my anxiety is activated and afterwards even the slightest bump in the road leaves me left feeling hopeless and slightly hysterical. Yes, I am afraid that I will never amount to anything.
I know it sounds ridiculous… But it’s the truth. Obviously one bad date doesn’t mean that I’ll end up forever alone. A failed assignment or course doesn’t mean that I’m going to have drop out and wind up working at McDonalds. However, constantly being surrounded by people who love to micromanage every aspect of their life and are able to answer where they’ll be in 5 years, 6 days and 2 hours from now makes me feel claustrophobic. HELL, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO BE DOING LATER THIS WEEK!!!
Recently, my anxiety levels have spiked to an all-time high. With half of my friends graduating from university/college, getting into serious relationships and acquiring full- time jobs, I can’t help but feel that my answers regarding my future should be more concrete. Although part of me desperately attempts to pick up the scattered pieces that is my life, another, much larger, part of me is left wondering if maybe being lost at 21 isn’t such a bad thing.
It has recently dawned on me that there are infinite numbers of people who stumble through life only to realize at the end of it that none of what they did was what they actually WANTED to do. Yep, these are the same people who furiously sped through their twenties thinking they had it all figured out; following the pathway they were told to and not wandering off the beaten track in any attempt to truly understand who they are inside.
Realistically speaking, it is quite easy to feel “found” in your twenties. There are hordes of people willing to tell you what to do and where to go. It is quite easy to become a mindless drone, following the same path someone else did just to be guaranteed a safe and comfortable life. However, is safety and comfort REALLY all you want from life? If so, all you have to do is simply ride along in passenger seat of someone else’s dream, letting them make all of your decisions for you.
Maybe being lost in your twenties is exactly what you need. I understand that it’s not where you were hoping to be –full of doubt, uncertainty, and that nagging fear of failure and unfulfilled desires. I understand you would much rather have your next move planned out and executed perfectly. I understand the frustration of wanting to be just about anywhere else in life but not being able to figure out where to go. I understand what it’s like to be lost and yes, it can drive you absolutely bonkers.
But trust me, there is some good that comes out of being lost. Knowing that you are lost and coming to realization that you want more from your life and from yourself is the first step. It means that you’re not willing to settle for comfort or mediocrity. Being lost means knowing you are capable of more then what you are currently offering the world. You could have easily done a, b and c to get to point d. Nevertheless, the fact that you didn’t tells us both that you would rather struggle with uncertainty then let yourself become one of those comfort seeking, dead dream, drones. The beauty in this is you are one of the few out there who still cares about living a life filled with passion. The world needs more people like you – more wanderers pushing themselves to find something more meaningful in life.
At 21, Steve Jobs was broke, living with his parents, and working in his garage. Mark Cuban was fired from his bartending job, broke, and living with 5 guys in a 3 bedroom apartment. Oprah Winfrey was in the midst of getting fired from her first broadcast host position and Walt Disney was about to file for bankruptcy. At the time it seemed very unlikely that any of these individuals would ever succeed in their desired fields. However, they all shared one thing in common; the knowledge that they all wanted, desired more from life. That is what you too share in common with them. You as well possess an unquenchable thirst for something greater than that bland job your degree will subsequently land you. You know that life has more to offer, but you just haven’t found out what it is quite yet.
Where do you go from here? Well, I’m not exactly an expert but I think this is the perfect time for you to revamp. Start from scratch. Discover your own individual likes and dislikes. Get to know yourself by trying as many new things as possible to unlock hidden talents. Travel Europe or pick up a new cook book. Yes, you get a chance to completely start over and redefine yourself no matter what your current situation may be. Apply to a new school or move to a different city. Be brave. Be bold. It won’t be easy but I have a feeling that in the end you won’t regret it.
So the next time you start to worry about being lost, inhale a deep breath and with your exhale let yourself know that you are okay. Remember nothing is lost forever. At one point or another you will find yourself, your path, and your calling in life. No one is discovered by staying comfortable and invisible. You will find yourself by indulging in new experiences, submerging yourself in new cultures, and testing out paths that you haven’t before.
So right now, allow yourself to be a little lost.
Because in my book, you are someone worth searching for.