“the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost. The word ‘lost’ comes from the old Norse ‘los’ meaning the disbanding of an army…I worry now that people never disband their armies, never go beyond what they know”
I love going out of my way to get lost in all the little ways I can. They seem insignificant but they feel mighty to me. Sometimes I’ll stay up all night working and wake up at an hour when most of my friends are on their office lunch break. It doesn’t happen regularly, but sporadically the urge to stay up all night working comes out of nowhere – I recognize it’s value and indulge the desire. Hours dissolve and in that night time quiet, I am absent but more inspired than ever. I’ll throw myself into parties, where I am the only stranger among a group of old friends – and it’s up to me to dissolve what feels like my invisibility into a fun night with new people. Being single means I can meet lots of men, pushing myself into coffee dates or a glass of wine with someone I might not like, but the experience is a good one for me. More-often-than-not, I feel totally lost in the work I do, not knowing what will happen next month, who will pay me on time, what project might come my way next or if anything might come at all.
But that uncertainty unchains me, it’s liberating. Constantly seeking something new – thrusting myself out there into a night where I get lost in work, or at a party filled with intimidating people, or lost across a table from another man I don’t quite like. These are the little ways I’ll push myself into getting lost, but then there are the bigger decisions too. Four years ago, I moved to Paris, knowing no one, not a clue about France, all I had was the notion that I’d quite like living there. Last summer, Haleigh and I planned an entire month long vacation across Europe in the space of 48 hours, we had barely read up on any of the places we had mapped out, but a photo from pinterest and a best friend was all we needed to get going. Just a few months ago, I ran off to Berlin, Prague and beyond to spend time with a man I barely knew – I threw a couple pairs of jeans in a suitcase and followed what felt like my heart to go see him and find out what we could be. And amongst all that, I’ll be walking down a street I’ve walked down hundreds of times, when some minor architectural detail that has escaped me for many years suddenly becomes the only thing I can focus on, a thing that says to me that I never did know where I was, even when I’m at home.
You see we pretend to not be lost, to have our lives seamlessly tied together – but really we are all lost as one another. I realized I was lost when I started University, as a book obsessed dork with few friends at school, I studied furiously determined I’d find the people like me within the walls of a english literature degree lecture hall. It didn’t happen, I felt alone and misunderstood there too. I learnt it’s not a place you need to find, in fact you don’t need to find anything at all, you just must keep searching. Wandering, experimenting, get lost in how lost you feel. Go out and experience moments of arrival, moments of realization, moments of discovery. Disorientate yourself, spin 360 into the unknown – and you’ll feel dizzy I’m sure but you are supposed to. Anything else isn’t really living. And you can do this in the smallest or the grandest of ways. Everything wonderful I have done so far in my life has come from feeling totally and utterly lost -and so I’m quite happy to admit I’ll always be lost. I hope you can find that satisfaction too.