My mother has a fear of being lost. She is great at traveling, and spent my childhood toting me all over the state for endless competitions and summer vacations. In high school, we traveled together to France along with ten other mom-and-daughter pairs. Still, she is afraid of being lost.
I blame this on two unrelated factors. First, she was born and raised in my home town, and seldom found herself in a situation where she needed to navigate unfamiliar territory. Second, she is unable to read a map. I can imagine that if I could not read a map, I, too, would be afraid of being lost.
But I have to admit…I occasionally tried to get myself lost as a child. Specifically, I would spend fifteen minutes or so on a regular basis in the 500 square foot cemetery near my pre-school, trying to get lost. My efforts resulted only in a mental map of the cemetery, which housed exactly (count ‘em) ONE giant tombstone. I craved the challenge to “solve my way out,” which proved handy several years later in multiple calculus classes.
My early love of maps (specifically, their logical structure and endless inches) may have been an indicator of my love of travel. I have never felt the fear of being lost, like my mom feels when presented with the possibility of driving to the airport by herself. I believe this lack of location-anxiety is based on two “Truths of My Life” that have formed in my head over the last 25 years:
- You can always ask for help (and should!).
- You will always make it home.
As uncomfortable as asking for help can sometimes be, I have found that a sunny disposition and the ability to laugh at yourself can pretty much get you any information you could ever need. Why be afraid of asking? I would rather have the facts on the front end than look like a fool later on. And almost any question asked with a genuine smile will be answered with a friendly response. As my dad would say, “You get more bees with honey.”
In my quarter of a century life, I have so far found that you will, in fact, always make it home. As I sit writing this, I think of every moment in my life where one may have considered me “lost” in more ways than one. Yet look, here I am, typing away on my pretty desk, snug in my home. After making my way home time and time again, I believe that you can never be lost forever – you will always find your way home.