Being Lost Is Okay…- by Katrina Van
Whether it’s an existential realization, a quarter-life depression, mid-life crisis, being stuck in a rut, or just not knowing what to do, we all feel lost sometimes. For some, it’s a few days of aimlessly walking about their day, unable to choose between job offers. Others are lost for months, struggling with their identity or path. Some of us live with it for years, like danisnotonfire from Youtube. We usually are able to function but once in a while, we’re struck with a horrible kind of uncertainty about the future and our purpose in life.
Being lost is okay. Not doing anything about it is not.
Doubting yourself and worrying about the future is a natural reaction to the ever changing world, but don’t let being lost define you and become part of your comfort zone. The first step to “finding” yourself is recognizing something huge.
There will never be a final version of you.
You’re a constant work in progress: the sum of your ongoing actions and experiences. Getting out of your comfort zone will help you gain more understanding of what you value, like, and don’t like as well as meet new people and encounter new opportunities. To help you get started, here are some tips on how to get out of your comfort zone:
1. Say “Yes!” (not just the dress)
Sure, I’d love to go out for coffee. I can edit your paper, no problem. Hot yoga? I’ll be there. Saying yes to new experiences will create new opportunities and connections with other people. Trying new things and talking to new friends will help you identify what you do and don’t like, as well as what kinds of people you like to surround yourself with.
2. Travel. Anywhere. Just get Away.
A different country, city, town, or park with new people, places, cultures, and things is a bottomless well of creativity. Whether it’s an overnight business trip, a week long get-away, visiting family, or moving completely, changing scenery will alter your perspective. Sometimes getting lost intentionally will help you get unlost.
3. Try Giving up Dislikes from your Past.
That interesting-looking delicacy you threw up when you were 8 might taste differently now. Your sworn aversion to anything green might have been a one second decision that made you lose out on clothes you would’ve bought if they were white. Just because you hated Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows, doesn`t mean you shouldn`t watch Pirates of the Caribbean or Sweeney Todd. But it`s not about the tastes, colours, and movie stars, it`s about realizing that you will change over time along with your thoughts and opinions. And that`s okay.
4. “Only After” vs. “Only Before”—Shock your Routine.
Try brushing your teeth only after you`ve had breakfast. Call your friend before they call you. Open your laptop after you`ve talked to each of your family members. Pour your milk only before your cereal. These little changes can significantly impact your daily routine and provide new ways of thinking outside the box, especially if you’re stuck in a rut.
5. Trust your Blink.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, he writes: “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis”. Sometimes we get stuck thinking about all the possibilities and outcomes that will come out of making a decision like which jobs to apply for or what to major in. Go make a quick decision without thinking too much about it and see where it takes you. You may surprise yourself. Sometimes, your gut instinct is right.
Everyone tries new things at their own pace, so take your time exploring life outside your comfort zone. This will help you understand where you are in life right now and straighten out your priorities. Not knowing how your life will pan out is not a gaping hole of oblivion, rather it should be like Barney Stinson (from How I Met Your Mother) says,
It’s okay to be lost, every leader has been there, and the best leaders know when to ask for help. Just make sure your actions don’t constantly re-enforce your uncertainty. Remember that everything eventually passes, including the struggle you’re going through right now. If you need help, just ask us.
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