It’s ok: To feel lost in life

‘It’s ok’  is a new series I’m starting where I discuss the more difficult aspects of life and travelling and hopefully help you work through the big, bad or scary things because we all need a little reassurance every now and then.

Today: It’s ok to feel lost in life

Sometimes I worry that I don’t know where I’m heading in life.  I worry about it a lot.  I think, in secret, we all do.

At the moment I am lucky enough to have a goal and know that I’m doing what is necessary to achieve it.  I know where I’m heading in life and I’m well on my way to getting to the end of, what seems like, my never-ending dark and scary tunnel; I have more direction and plans in my life than I ever remember having and yet, for the past month I have felt completely and utterly lost.  Like Alice in Wonderland when she’s walking through the forest; she wants so desperately to find her way home and yet every path she takes leads her to being and feeling more lost.  And so she cries, overwhelmed by her inability to find home, not only because she IS lost but because she FEELS lost.

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For the past month I have been lost in ways I couldn’t hope to describe and have shed more tears than I care to admit.  Whilst I have a strong path to walk in some senses, in others, for the moment, the path is broken and I don’t have the tools to fix it.  Certain things are out of my control and it both frustrates and saddens me.  The logic in my head screams at me to ‘make sense of things’, to ‘sort myself out’ but my heart says something else; it tells me to feel lost and be okay with it because it’s just how things need to be for the moment.  My heart explains that it’s strong enough to wait until I can fix my broken path and that it will get better just as I will; just as YOU will.

I know you’re upset at feeling lost; truly, I understand.  It’s horrible.  You feel like you should KNOW (in our adult age) what to do and how to ‘fix’ ourselves in times like this but sometimes you just have to accept that at the moment your feelings and heart are stronger than your head and that ultimately, your heart no doubt holds the key to feeling ‘found’ again.

Maybe you’re at Uni but feel lost or you’re in a job you hate.  Maybe you feel lost simply because  you’re not surrounded by good people.  There are a lot of ways society can make you feel lost but it doesn’t have to stay that way.  You don’t have to FEEL that way.  Modern age does not like us to get lost and actually gives us very few opportunities to do it.  And so occasionally we run away to get physically, mentally and spiritually lost simply so we can find our true selves again.

We buy the backpack and the plane ticket and we buy into the hope that along the way, we find ourselves once again. That we manage to answer the questions: ‘what do I want to do for the rest of my life?’, ‘where I am going in life?’, ‘who am I?’.  The BIG, yet deeply personal questions. But what’s wrong with not knowing?  What’s wrong with trying every job under the sun until you find the one you love?  What’s wrong with taking life day by day and waking up each day not knowing your physical or mental direction?  What’s wrong with spending your entire life learning who you really are?tumblr_m6w3po22Jy1rqycfoo1_500

Whenever I get lost or fear I’m lost, I remember something my Mum says: you’re never lost for long.

Sometimes you get overwhelmed by life (that’s another post for another day) and feel as though you have nowhere or no one to turn to but you do; the problem is that you are feeling so lost in a mental fog that you often can’t see what’s right in front of your face; YOU!  Ultimately you are the one who has the power to find your direction, your path if you will, and walk it strongly.  We can’t walk your path for you.  We can’t live your life or fulfil your dreams because that is something you need to do for yourself but we CAN show you our paths in the hope that it will inspire you.  We CAN help you build your path and we CAN walk that path with you, hand in hand, reassuring you that everything will be ok.

But for the moment, you’re lost and that’s ok.  Truly.  You’re not alone.  We’ve all been, are going through or will be feeling lost at some point in our lives and the only thing you have to remember is this: It’s ok to feel lost in life.  None of us have all the answers to our hearts and minds.  Though others may seem to be more ‘together’ than you, we all struggle on our own levels, we just don’t always admit it out loud.

(for anyone that has read my story, apologies if you feel I am repeating myself) In 2010, six weeks before I was due to backpack solo around Asia for three months, I suffered a miscarriage (not knowing I had been pregnant) and my world collapsed.  To say I felt lost would be a vast understatement.  Despite crying my way through security, I got on the plane and although I had some happy times, I really didn’t enjoy myself (I’ve never admitted that to anyone apart from myself).  I had moments that filled my soul with unadulterated happiness and I was the most care free I could ever remember feeling and yet, in the middle of a hotel room the night before learning to dive, I cried until I passed out; feeling so small and lost in this gigantic world of ours.  I spent more nights in hotels than hostels in those three months just so I could be alone and would lie on a beach watching the sun set as silent tears rolled down my cheeks despite being surrounded by happiness.  I had no direction in my heart, mind or life until I realised that I had had it all along; I just hadn’t seen it…my love of writing and helping people had been in me all along; I was the thing that was right in front of my face!

Will I find a job that utilises my path?  Who knows.  But even outside of work, I can still walk my personal path strongly.  Maybe, like me, all you need to do is find the key that opens the door to your path.  For me it was travelling because I NEEDED to not because I wanted to.  Maybe your key is discovering a hobby can be turned into a passion and a job, realising you are trying to follow other peoples dreams for you instead of your own or the simple realisation that actually, you’re pretty happy with your life and need something only temporary to lift you.

But if you can’t find your key for now; don’t worry…you can borrow mine.  You can walk my path a little and see how you feel.  Maybe it will show you which path you DON’T want instead of the one you do; both result in a clearer direction for you but remember this; it’s ok to feel lost in life.  It doesn’t last, it can be fixed and you’re not alone.

When you find your key and you’re ready to go through the door, I will walk that path with you, hand in hand, reassuring you that everything will be ok in the end.

You’re never lost for long.

Leave a Reply

33 comments

  1. Jen

    Toni, I really needed to read this today. I have 8 weeks until I have to leave the UK (visa expiry) and today I felt completely lost. I cried at the situation of having to leave and work out what to do next, yes there is excitement of going traveling for a bit but after that its back to Australia to work it out and it scares the daylights out if me. Your open and honest writing shows me that we all go through this feeling of being lost at times and that it will be ok. I often feel that I’m walking this path on my own but now I feel I have a little company, thanks. X

  2. “it’s ok to feel lost in life. It doesn’t last, it can be fixed and you’re not alone.”

    That´s all we need to know!!

  3. Another beautifully written piece, and oh so true…

    I was lost until I was 35. Not everything about my life sucked, I just had no idea where it was all leading. Meeting my wife helped stopped my cycle of ‘arrested development’ (I was a 35 year old teenager).

    I still feel lost sometimes, but all I have to do is look back to before 2007, and I know how being really lost feels.

    Anyway, the point of that rambling is- If you have faith in yourself, and never stop looking, you can find your way. (Just be prepared for it to be frustrating as hell along the way :-) )

  4. MarieDanilynLagrosas

    Yes, I feel that way too, and just like you Toni, I am prep talking myself “It’s okay to feel lost.” But despite off all the prep talking I’m still on my perennial question; “Am I getting somewhere, though not specifically the right way home, but somewhere I won’t feel lost anymore.”

  5. I think it is completely normal to feel lost every now and then. And that’s ok too. Nobody is 100% happy all the time and everybody will experience uncertainties or dark moments throughout their lifetime. Your mum is right: the important to thing to remember is that you won’t feel lost forever and you are the one person that can change that feeling. Just listen to your heart!

  6. I always feel lost. Lately, I’ve been trying to give myself room to figure everything out, but sometimes I don’t trust myself to figure it out. Especially when I’m not productive. I think might have to borrow your key :)

  7. Life’s one big mystery. All you can do is make proactive decisions to change aspects of your situation you’re not happy with. Usually, I find, the rest falls into place. And when it doesn’t, you push through it, surround yourself with friends and come out the other side.

  8. This is amazing! you are such a strong, inspirational person and I couldn’t love this post (or you) more!! Sometimes I think we need to feel completely lost in order to find ourselves! xxx

  9. This is such an incredible thing that you’ve shared I feel like you’re reading my mind! Thank you so much for writing this, and allowing me to read it and just to see that the lost feeling that creeps up on me sometimes os just looking for more buddies for this amazing group of people all over the world.
    Really Toni, thanks :)

  10. Toni, this is a great idea for a new series. Look forward to reading more.

  11. Jen – I’m not surprised you were upset; the situation you’re in is daunting and the unknown is often scary so I can understand the tears hun. Going home is always difficult after time away but after 2 years you will go home and feel completely changed (despite probably looking the same on the outside…though a little more pale!) and that will be difficult so it’s no wonder you feel lost. But PLEASE don’t think you’re alone; my email inbox is always open; day or night x

  12. Viagens – Thank you :)

  13. Erik – You’re right, sometimes feeling lost can last for years but thankfully you eventually found your way and that’s what it’s all about! We all feel lost sometimes but yes, as you say, it’s frustrating as hell at times though we get through it with lots of dedication and hope! :) And thank you for your kind words as ever :)

  14. Marie – I think, whether we realise it not, we’re all moving towards something but it’s not until we really know what we want that we can be sure if we’re heading in the right direction or not and that’s why we feel lost BUT at least you have perpetual motion and that will ALWAYS get you somewhere :) I’m prep-talking myself and it doesn’t always work so I can understand! :)

  15. Tammy – I think that’s what we forget when we feel at our most lost; to listen to our hearts but the answer is usually there all along!

  16. Priya – Feel free to borrow my key :) It’s a difficult balance to trust yourself that you can stop being lost and that you have the answer but when you head is full of questions, it’s really hard to remember that we can fix it and we get stuck so I can understand where you’re coming from. Take tiny steps and answer the smaller questions first and you might start to get somewhere :)

  17. Arianwen – surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones really is the best medicine at times. Small steps usually lead to the bigger questions being answer too; start small and keep building!

  18. Scarlett – Aww thank you gorgeous; that’s so lovely of you :) ” Sometimes I think we need to feel completely lost in order to find ourselves!” <—–AMEN! 😀 xx

  19. Oceana – Thank you! I am SO pleased to hear that liked the post and you felt it ‘spoke’ to you and – you’re welcome! Any time :) We do all feel lost at times but, as you said, it’s friends and connections all over the world that really can help pull you through! x

  20. John – thank you!! Glad you think it’s a good series idea; I was nervous to put it out there!

  21. Jessica

    Two years ago I lost my Mum and have been lost myself ever since I was working on a new life before she got ill spending time on things that made me happy but nothing makes me happy anymore recently I have been thinking that travel may help get me back on track. I don’t even mind not knowing where I am going in life but I think we all need to feel like we are going somewhere or at least enjoying the journey but I don’t have either right now but I am working on my small steps. Nice to read an inspirational British blog btw I have mostly come across American ones so far. I’m grateful for your open honest words as well.

    -1
  22. Victoria

    A wonderful post which has given me some hope! Having just lost my business due to a bad debt wher a customer owed me 100s of thousands, I have now been declared bankrupt, I am about to lose my house and I have lost nearly everything I have ever worked for! I am so lost and I have no confidence in making decisions as I am to afraid, I don’t trust my own judgement anymore. I am not even sure what I enjoy anymore, I spend all my time analysing myself and the situation but don’t feel like I’m moving in any direction. I am existing and that is it. I am in a rare position now where I can change my whole life and do what ever I want but I am too scared to try. Reading your post and others comments has shown me there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Thank you x

  23. Jessica – I’m really very sorry to hear of your loss; it’s no wonder you feel lost. I think you have the right idea by taking small steps. After all, they still keep you moving forward. Have you been travelling before or would this be the first time? It isn’t for everyone and if you have emotional baggage it can be exceptionally hard but very much worth it to face it and try and deal with it. Perhaps, if you have the opportunity, try and travel for a few weeks or a few months; it might help you get some perspective/direction in your life if you can see things a little more clearly. My inbox is always open if you want to email me.
    And thank you for your kind words about my blog; they’re really appreciated :)

  24. Thank you for sharing your story and your words of wisdom with us. I feel lost so much of the time, and it’s great to hear I’m not the only one and to have it pointed out that it’s okay to be lost.

  25. Great reading! I have feel the same, and it’s totally normal if we feel lost some days. But I think most important is how to cope with that, and what we’re doing not to feel that way. Take care!

  26. This post had made my day! It’s good to know someone else feels lost sometimes and I’m not the only one in the world who is trying to figure some things out. This piece of writing is so inspiring. We all need some time to find our own way and follow our dreams.

  27. Catherine – I’m so glad that you found my post and that you can take some small comfort in knowing that you are not alone though I’m sorry you feel lost most of the time; I do too! x

  28. Kadri – Exactly! We know we won’t feel lost forever and that’s half the battle; the realisation it won’t last but in the meantime, it’s okay to feel the way you do! Thank you for your lovely words :)

  29. Agness – I’m so glad you felt you could relate to the post and that you now know there’s other people out there who struggle just as much sometimes :) Thank you for calling it inspiring; it means a lot :)

  30. Your story is really touching, I can’t related to anything as distressing and difficult as yourself but I can definitely understand relative feelings of being lost. When I’m not travelling I often feel lost, and a little aimless. I love the Alice in Wonderland pictures by the way, good reference!

  31. Charlie – I can completely understand feeling so lost when you’re not travelling; when you’re on the road you have so much drive and connection with yourself and when you’re not, you really don’t know what to do with yourself! Stay strong lovely and I’m glad you like the Alice in Wonderland reference :)

  32. Brad

    Thankyou Toni.

  33. hunter

    after losing 6 years of my life to drugs and walking out on a professional football career i often cant help but look back and feel embarrassed and heartbroken.
    without being to much of a tool i know im a good looking guy and earn good money in my job but i just cant forgive myself.
    i really feel that im dying and live from day to day,fuck this life