Journal

Allowing Yourself to Get Lost

1 July 2015

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One afternoon last September, I found myself trapped between rippled bog pools and thick, white fog. There was no trace of the steep path I had climbed without meeting a soul for the last three hours. No clues to tell the way back down from any of the ways ahead.

Pursuing a freelance career or venturing into a new project can be just as dizzying as getting lost on a mountain. When you go your own way, you have no well-trodden path to follow, no clear directions to guide you there or back again. It will only seem rational to wait until someone draws a perfect map; until you can afford the right equipment; until you find clarity. But what happens to your dreams if you just keep waiting?

That morning was my first morning in Glencoe, and I had twelve hours before catching a bus back to Edinburgh. I could have stayed in the warm hostel. I could have chosen a shorter, waymarked trail. But wanting to make the most of my short stay, I walked for eight hours, despite having rain-soaked shoes and nothing but a vague list of directions for the wrong trail. I got lost for a while, but I found an adventure.

It can be frightening to step away from the rational path, but sometimes you have to. When the fog rolls in between you and your dreams, you can either wait for it to pass, choose a safer trail or walk through it. But you are far more likely to find clarity if you allow yourself to get a bit lost. If, despite your lack of directions, you tie your shoes and just start climbing.

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