31st January 2012

To ‘lose direction’ can literally mean just that. You are going somewhere, in a particular direction, let’s say, south for example. Suddenly, you’re not sure which way is up, your internal compass is on the fritz, your phone is out of batteries (hence no sat nav) and you forgot your A to Z because you usually have your phone…you are lost. So you ask a friendly looking stranger, which way is south ‘…..’ street, and they point you in the right direction (hopefully) and if not, you buy an A to Z from the news agent and your problem is solved. It really is as easy as that. With maps and compasses and sat navs at our disposal, it’s rather difficult to get lost these days. However, metaphorically speaking, it’s rather easy to get lost, to lose one’s self, to lose direction, to get stuck.

Where am I heading? What is the plan for my life? What career? What person? What will generate meaning? From a young age there is a lot of pressure to choose a direction and stick with it. That is the root of success we are told. Everyone has a purpose, you just need to find yours. And yet, I for one often feel as if I chose a path just to prove I could, because that was what was expected of me, because successful people know where they are going. They don’t lose direction, they FIND direction. They are the compass masters, they are the superheros of direction. I know a few of those types. And, truth be told, they are indeed successful.

I guess you could say I was lucky, I had a lot of options, it was hard to decide, so I circled my finger in the air, closed my eyes, and BANG, the first place my finger landed, that was where I headed. I wanted to be able say, yes, THIS is it, I am on the right path, I am going in the right direction, yes sir, I’m on track. I’m just like everyone else, I’m grown up, I’m a compass master, wow, look at me!

And yet, I can’t shake this nagging feeling that the road I’m on is just that, a road. No better or worse than any other. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s nice and all. The view’s not too bad. Which is a decidedly GOOD thing, since I drive this particular route pretty regularly. I’m intimate with the landscape, comfortable with its contours, like an old shoe, and yet, something keeps tugging at me, wait, what about THAT road, THAT one looks nice, THAT one looks different. So, I veer off my path and head down a new road, until I run out of gas. Then I have to run back to the old road in the wet and cold to fill up an old gas can, and part of me resents that I have to go back. But, but… I know exactly where all the gas stations are on this old road, and I can drive it with my eyes closed. Maybe, just maybe it’s not so bad. So, here I am, back where I started, wanting to get lost, wanting to try something new, wanting to go walk about, and yet a little nervous about running out of gas.