Not all who wander are lost.

I always thought that saying was bullshit. Why else would you just wander around? To look at the scenery, maybe enjoy the view. Maybe amble along until you see something that makes you not lost anymore. The idea of being lost is peculiar when you think about it. What does it mean to be lost? You are unfamiliar with where you are. You are unsure how to get to your destination. As soon as you see something you recognize, then you’re not lost anymore, and you know where you’re going.

But how does someone feel lost? Not in a physical sense, but emotionally and cognitively? What’s behind the phrase, “I just feel lost…”? You get to a point in your life where you are unsure how to get to your destination. You don’t know what to do next. You may not even know your destination. To no longer “feel” lost you have to find something, something you recognize. A lot of people find religion. Religion can feel familiar and safe, and puts you on path somewhere. Some people find a career or a job. Something that makes them get up every day and feel productive. Some people find other people. Either friends or a life partner of sorts; a group or person that understands and comforts.

Do these things help us feel un-lost? Are these the things that truly help us “find ourselves?” A religion, a job, a person – they are the landmarks we use to help us to our destination. They are things we recognize before we realize that we aren’t lost anymore. Because what is our true destination? Ourselves. We find the people and things that make us happy and bring us joy, and we see ourselves in them. We feel whole. We’ve arrived.
I can say that I do not feel lost. I’m not sure where I’m heading and I’m a little uncertain of my surroundings. But I’m not lost. I’m just wandering. I’m ambling around enjoying the scenery, trying different paths to see if they lead anywhere interesting. I may not have an end goal but I can still see what’s in front of me very clearly. I’m not worried that I don’t know where I am or where I’m going. I’m just glad to be here.

Truly, not all who wander are lost.