Sometimes We Need To Get Lost In Order To Find Ourselves

April 8, 2015 1:44 PM

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If there's one thing I'm truly excellent at, it's getting lost. Set me up with a compass, a map, and a set of directions, and I will invariably end up somewhere I did not intend to go. The tighter the time frame, the further away from my destination I'll be. I've gotten lost in foreign countries and nearby towns, on sprawling interstates and unfamiliar dirt roads. I've gotten lost in my own backyard (which is actually a few acres of dense forest, but still). Not so long ago, I veered off course visiting my best friend in Brooklyn, where I'd been a dozen times before. Despite being familiar with the walk from the A train to her doorstep, I went a mile out of my way before I realized that something was up. The other day, I walked into a convenience store, bought a bottle of water, walked out, and immediately started going in the wrong direction. Getting lost might be one of my more inconvenient traits, but as far as flaws go it's certainly not my worst. These days, I plan on it. It's built into my time table whenever I go somewhere even slightly unfamiliar, and I've gotten good at rolling through those wrong turns with a mellow, unsurprised smile. I still try my best to take the right exits and merge onto the correct highways, but the fact that I only succeed a scant fifty percent of the time doesn't really phase me anymore. On the other hand, if you ever want to get lost on purpose--well, then. I'm your girl.

I think it's important to get lost sometimes. The roads we travel every day are the ones that we see the least clearly--and if those are the only roads we travel, then the habit of not looking sets in. Sometimes all it takes to jolt us back into the practice of observation is a new place, whether it...

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