Lesson 26: When you’re lost, stop and ask for directions

you are here.

I’ve been feeling a bit lost lately. The storm that blew through my world earlier this fall has passed, and I’m still here. Battered and bruised, but also free. Information is power, no matter how painful the message, and it can help you move forward. Only question now is: where to?

I’ve been trying to find the answer for several weeks now, and it’s only left me feeling scattered, overwhelmed and as a result: I’m confused.  And a little depressed. It’s hard to be motivated to move forward when you don’t know where you’re going.

For many years I volunteered with Spirituality For Kids, an amazing organization that teaches kids and teens how to make better choices. On the first day of class we would explain that to get anywhere in life you need to know two things: where you are (Point A) and where you want to go (Point B).

I know where I am. My Point A: I live alone and work at a well-paying advertising job helping Big Pharma get bigger. And I don’t even take an aspirin unless my arm is falling off. I want more in and from my life. I want to make a difference. Ok, so what’s my Point B?

I know I want a life and career where I can use my creative powers of persuasion for good, not simply for profit. And I want to share my life with the right someone. I want a family of my own. This time of the year can be hard for those of us without that*.

But how do I get there?

I’m not sure. But I was reminded this past week that collectively, we all have the answers to any question.

I reluctantly had dinner the other night with a friend who gave me some unexpected direction. I was feeling really down and overwhelmed and as much as I love her, I wasn’t sure I was up to it. I’m not good at hiding my pain, and I’m really tired of feeling like a liability with my friends. I want to have the answers. To know where I’m going and help others along the way.

But it turned out to be the best two hours I could have spent. I was amazed at her knowledge and information. She helped me feel that there were options. She gave me hope.

Then a couple days later, I had lunch with a couple of friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Again, I was feeling down and not up to socializing. Again, I left feeling inspired and hopeful. Where I lacked direction and certainty about what I should do next, they had clarity.

Sometimes when we’re lost, all it takes is stopping. When I was in a bad place in college, my mother bravely encouraged me to take a semester off. It was the best decision I ever made ­– I went back to school in the fall a new person, motivated and excited about the new path I’d chosen.

But sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes you have to also ask for directions from people you trust.

I believe we are all gifted at seeing in others what they can’t always see in themselves. That we can see our friends’ strengths and paths to greatness often when they themselves cannot. I guess sometimes it just takes a different perspective – to know which way to go next.

I’m still not sure exactly what my Point B is, and I’m working on that. But I’m surer than ever that I’ll have a better chance of finding it with help from my friends.

*Side note: those of you with single friends, find out if they’re alone for the holidays & invite them to join you. It’ll be the best gift you can give!

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