I had everything—a home, a loving husband, two gorgeous daughters, financial security. I wanted for nothing. For years, this life was welcomed.
I felt safe. But over time, safe stopped serving me. Safe became confinement, imprisonment, I was actually miserable. I was empty. I was lost…completely lost, with no clue how to get home.
“Where was home?” I began to ask. I might as well have been sitting in the middle of the Karoo that night and not on my bed as usual.
My life was uncomfortably predictable—I knew what was going to happen next, in every moment of every day… No excitement. Just routine. Week after week and month after month.
The predictability of my life was destroying my spirit. I was no longer myself, and I knew the journey from where I was back to my home was going to be a scary, uncertain one, but at some point, I felt as if I had no choice. I couldn’t live separate from myself anymore, so I started walking without any idea where I was going.
That was a year ago this September.
Today, I’m writing this from home, from the same bed with the same child sleeping next to me. The difference? Me, and the thousands of little roads I’ve traveled since. The thousands of experiences I’ve collected to bring me right back here.
There were many frightening moments, many moments I didn’t think I would make it. I made mistake after mistake, which weirdly enough catapulted me in the exact direction I was supposed to be going. I don’t regret any of it, because all of the wrong choices led me to where I am today. And for that I am thankful.
If there’s one piece of advice I would give every person, it would be to get lost.
Finding yourself is not a comfortable process, nor should it be. It is petrifying.
This period of confusion is the catalyst for questioning everything, for evaluating your life and your place in it. When you start asking the questions, you will find the answers. Just be prepared—your answers may not be the answers you want, but they are always the answers you need.
When you feel lost, you’ve lost your purpose.
I remember being consumed with guilt for feeling unappreciative of my blessed life. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that my external circumstance (no matter how perfect it may appear) is insignificant if my internal circumstance is broken, lost and void of aspirations. If I have no purpose, my surroundings will feel purposeless too.
How do you find purpose?
Do something, anything. Do anything that is the opposite of what you are doing right now.
Get uneasy, get scared, become a beginner again. If you think you know it all, find something you know nothing about, and learn it well. I started a doula course this year and I have learned so much not only about myself, but also about people.
Observe how you respond and react. You will learn something new about yourself; not only about your character, but what turns on your light. Once you’ve found something that turns on your light, you’ve found purpose.
When you place yourself in foreign situations, you arrive in your most concentrated form. You will always bump into yourself in the unfamiliar.
The most difficult part of this process is the aloneness. You can’t rely on anyone else to guide you in the right direction. This is a solo mission. Doing it alone, is the whole point of the journey.
Listen to yourself regardless of what others may say. All that matters is your encouragement, not others’ discouragement.
This is your one life. It would be a tragedy to never discover yourself.
You can’t discover yourself unless you look for yourself, so get lost.