I am realizing that it is ok to feel lost – a lot.
I have been retired for almost two years now, two years during this pandemic. It has been a time of solitude (a very comfortable place for me most of the time), of inner exploration, of getting re-acquainted with who I am. After almost 69 years in this body and on this earth, you might think that I should already have that figured out, yes? Yet, I find that there is ever so much more to explore.
There are parts of me that have been quieted over the years – whether it be in the service of devoting my attention to my work, to my current relationships, to whatever may be first and foremost in my life at the time. And now, I no longer work at my job. So…that no longer defines who I am or how I structure my day, I am single, so a relationship no longer serves to create some definition of who I am in relation to someone else. I live alone, so housemates or family that lived with me before no longer serve to create those definitions and boundaries. I have no children or family that I feel close to that can also serve to define me as part of that group.
So, I feel lost at times. Lost without all those ways of helping me to define who I am and what my purpose is.
And it’s ok. It hasn’t always been ok to feel lost, but it is getting more and more comfortable these days. How can I find my new direction (or my way back home to mySelf) if I don’t get a little lost? How can I see more clearly who and what draws me toward them if I don’t stand in the space of not knowing for a while? How can I feel what brings me joy if I don’t become quiet and still – to allow those parts of me to emerge? How can I share who I am with you if I don’t take the time to go within and hear those things from myself? How can I truly find my direction if I don’t allow myself the acknowledgment of feeling lost?
So here I am. I write, and that is part of who I am and how I express myself. And I love when others read what I write and relate to any parts that I have written. That is part of the tribe that I belong to and part of my purpose. I paint, and love when others find something in my paintings that stirs anything in them or gives them pleasure.
I am in solitude quite a bit, and enjoy those times when I do choose to get together with friends. ( I also find that these times are more carefully chosen as I continue to age, as time becomes more precious with each passing year.)
I am more open with who I am these days, not having to present any kind of professional image that will be accepted by any employer.
I can pay more attention to the things around me these days. One of my joys for the past several years has been to volunteer are our local zoo. I am on the Behavior Observation Team and I get to spend two hour shifts weekly simply observing the elephants and recording their behavior. What lessons this continues to teach me. How little we are taught to simply be still, watch, and listen. And breathe. And simply be part of this earth and all of its wonders. Observing these majestic creatures has humbled me and taught me to stop and take in so much more of all that is around me.
I have bird baths in my back yard, and I am delighted to watch them and all their splashing about. It makes me smile and giggle, and keeps me busy running out there to replenish the water in the tiny bird bath as well as the bottoms of plant containers where they also love to bathe. Such pure joy! I never had the time before. Or never took the time.
So, do I sometimes feel lost? Absolutely. Do I get anxious about that? Yes, at times. And yet, it’s really a gift and blessing, I realize, to have the time and space to actually feel this and explore it and keep on finding my way back home – my way back home to me.