Getting lost, growing up
People say that to be found you must first experience the bliss of getting lost.
I never understood why people called being lost bliss. If you ask me, getting lost is nothing but a whirlwind of confusion, roads with no end, or mazes with no exits. I can say all of these things because it is the position that I am in right now. Now, when you hear the phrase “I am lost,” you automatically assume a place that you are unfamiliar with; you describe the feeling of not being able to find your way out. But what if the soul-stirring feeling of being astray is something that is creating burrows within your soul?
The moment I turned 19, I felt a sudden shift in my life. It was not noticeable at first but it eventually found a way to capture my attention in the most dreaded way possible. Choosing a degree that is aimed at practicability rather than chasing something that I have dreamed of ever since I was a young child was an easy decision for me to take. You see, when you grow up carrying the burden of the countless expectations of those who believe you—you tend to get used to choosing things that you know will make those around you happy. It gets easy for you to pin out which ones will lead to disappointment and which will end with a pat on the back along with an “I’m proud of you.”
College is one of the events of life that you start to look forward to when you watch those coming-of-age films on television which is why I started my first year of college fueled with enthusiasm and excitement. I was more than ready to face the hurdles that may discourage me. Every doubt that people had for me when I entered an academically challenging course was brushed off by my cocky attitude. But as months passed, the ecstasy and the high that came with facing the unknown disappeared, and I got lost. What people don’t realize is that doubt is one of the deadliest things we can encounter when we wander off the path we think we can face with the attainment of artistry. But it’s not—it starts with the “Can I even manage to work through the workload?” and then it eventually breaks every self-assurance and confidence you have within you. Until eventually you start to question if this is the future you imagine to have.
Those questions haunted me at night like phantoms. I faced long-stagnant days, failing exams, and plummeting grades—I was more than disappointed in myself. I watched as the other people in my class effortlessly passed everything, while I was struggling with things that looked so easy for them—it made me feel so out of place. It felt rather heavy. On nights, I would imagine talking to the younger version of myself who dreamed of big things but was buried in journal entries and ledgers of self-doubt and dread. Most times, I’ll think about whether she’ll wipe my tears and tell me stories to soothe my skepticism or if she’ll frown and ask how I managed to mess everything up. Hours turned to days and days turned into months which in turn transformed into years. The feeling of being lost cradled me so much that I became familiar with its lonely lullabies.
Until one night, I stumbled upon my old notebooks that were tucked away on my dusted shelf. Each messy writing, crossed-out words, and smeared ink made me realize that sometimes to find a way out whenever you are lost, you must retrace your steps and start from the beginning. I let myself read through each one of them, and that’s when I felt the old flame within me ignite once again. I realized that I felt lost because I strayed away from the things that I was passionate about. I buried myself with the worry of not achieving something great in the future that I unconsciously dug a grave for my ardency in writing. The feeling of not knowing what you want to do in the future and the feeling of not being able to do something that you love is a feeling that keeps you isolated from the person that you used to be—and keeps you even more disoriented from the person that you want to become.
I realized that all of us are lost. No one truly knows where we are heading or what we will face in the future. Despite reconnecting with my passion, I still carry the feeling of being off track. The only difference now is that I have my passion which will serve as my compass. We must let each of our passions burn bright. At the end of the day, each of our bright flames will help us navigate through the dark, treacherous journey that life has in store for us.