Sometimes We Must Get Lost to Find Our Way

WHEN I HEAD OUT INTO THE NIGHT for a walk, I lose myself in the mix of spreading silence and the signs of the day’s end. I lose myself in the moon and the planets, in the cold that wakes a sleepy spirit, in the thoughts that are often shrouded by the sun and the day’s actions.

The night makes me dream — but I’m not asleep. I’m more awake than I’ve ever felt, out here wondering what it all means to me.

A walk during the day is healthy for the mind, body, and soul. But a walk at night makes me think about the world differently; the sounds of the ocean waves are peaceful as I walk beside them. The beat of my heart breaks parallel to the beat of the sea; the music of the tide carries me on.

We may feel lost for an entire period of our life — a month, a season, even several years where it feels like we can’t find the exact path back to the road, back to who we are.

During these times, we may not realize it, but we’re growing. We’ve been put in this position for a reason.

As I walk along the beach, I can barely see the sand in front of me, if not for the moon’s luminosity revealing the way. The sun must be far beyond the horizon now, but still, there’s a faint glow behind the wintry purple clouds which move quickly across the sky.

It takes embracing what’s uncomfortable, stepping into it, to perceive the brilliance of a cold dark night.

At the beginning of the summer, I thought I had a plan. It was to dedicate myself to becoming a writer by moving to Japan and teaching English while writing and traveling with the rest of my time.

If things went according to plan, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now. Packing, pacing, wondering what my life was about to become? Probably, and I would never have grown as I have in the last nine months. I’d be focused on the end result, the next thing, the launch.

But now I’m here, watching what looks like a green star on the horizon. A dim blue shade travels across the water like a delicate streak of paint; the ocean and the waning light of the sky dance together, as if painted by Monet.

Some lights in the sky are motionless, radiant, alone. They must be stars or satellites turning as the earth does. Planes are now just blinking colors — green, yellow, white, and red. The tide is low; it’s perfectly still.

I’m grateful for where I am, where we are. I believe there’s meaning to it all.

Before Covid, I wasn’t considering creating The Dare to Dream Podcast with one of my best friends to inspire others to go after their dreams like we are ours. Not that we know exactly what we’re doing; we’ve simply begun to question.

I was primarily focused on international travel, and doing something so uncomfortable and new, that my book would write itself.

While that may happen, I’ve worked on honing my skills and writing about more than just travel over these past nine months. I write about relationships, personal growth, family, spirituality, aspects of my life that are just as important as traveling.

Yet, my passion for travel and experiencing different cultures only burns brighter.

I’ve connected with nature and found a more profound sense of place by exploring California and the Southwest with my best friends and family.

I didn’t realize how important the natural world is to me until I got out there and felt its power. I’ve been backpacking, camping, and road-tripping to feel the earth beneath my feet, and it feels like home.

Icy ponds exist in solitude up there in the mountains; they remain still as glass, but that’s where life exists without our knowing. Finding and swimming in one of these watering holes with my best friends is a memory that will fill me with joy for the rest of my life.

Spending time in nature is now an essential priority.

My dream is far from dead. With every new day, I feel closer to making it my reality. But sometimes, when we’re stuck on a specific path that we think is our answer, a certain trajectory or plan, we lose sight of the opportunity right in front of us. We’re so set in our decision that nothing else seems relevant.

That’s when we must open our minds and stray, if just for a second, from that path. Get lost beneath the night sky, and you’ll see new lights that you’ve never noticed, beauty on distant horizons, a new way of thinking overlooked beneath the sun.

Whatever it is you’re going through, consider how it’s changed you. It may be in a way you’ve never expected, as this period has been for me.

We’re better for this time, as our eyes have been opened to the preciousness of life, and our ability to change it. Getting lost for a night, for a month, for a period of life, can change us in the best ways possible.

  • Stuart Danker
    Posted at 03:17h, 24 November Reply

    This is so true. I myself have stumbled across various careers and points in my life, most not being the best decisions I’ve ever made, but it’s through these mistakes that I found myself. Thanks for this post!

    • Vincent Van Patten
      Posted at 19:42h, 24 November Reply

      I appreciate the read, my friend! We gotta just keep throwing mud against the wall and seeing what sticks. At least we have writing as a means to express ourselves no matter where we find ourselves in life. All the best!

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