I certainly thought so.
Being lost is for people who are on the couch eating Cheetos. For people in the unemployment line. For anyone who is addicted to drugs. For the mediocre, mindless masses.
I never thought of myself as a loser, but I certainly am lost.
Almost a year ago I wrote Stop Bullshitting Yourself If You Want To Wake Up (From The True Matrix) and revealed that despite “having it all,” I was terribly unhappy. Despite having a high paying job and a wonderful family, something important was missing.
My life had gone off the rails, and I had no idea what to do about it.
I wrote about all the “tricks” I tried such as changing jobs, eating better, and getting exercise.
None of it worked.
All the distractions and futile attempts to improve my life just added up to more misery, sadness, and loneliness.
In that original post, I wrote, “I think waking up requires one main ingredient that I don’t see anyone talking about… personal accountability.” In the past few months, I have come to realize how nuanced and complicated the notion of personal accountability is and how difficult it is to describe without confusing it with issues such as commitments, projects, personal relationships, and ego.
Personal accountability is one of those things which is so easy to say — it just rolls off the tongue. It’s like promising yourself you’ll only watch one more episode of Breaking Bad, or that this weekend you won’t drink. Then you wake up at 3am on Sunday, with 16 empty cans of beer and hazy memories of Walter White.
It happens, I know.
When I take a moment and bother to think about my own personal accountability, I can’t help but wonder if it is selfish to put myself first, or whether putting myself first is the only way to find the right path towards being a better person for myself and others. Life had rapidly become a game of “this or that,” a series of choices that felt increasing selfish, or the opposite: being a martyr. I want to live a life of abundance, of saying “and” not “or.”
Since I wrote that post, I’ve slowly realized that I was not going to find important answers from outside myself. But at the same time, I didn’t know how to find them from within. Most of the time my mind would race and I’d defer to sitting in front of the TV or reading a book. Just one more handful of chips. You know what I mean?
I started to wonder about being lost.
I asked myself: “Once you are lost, can you get more lost?”
That may seem like a ridiculous question, but for me it was a real problem. The harder I tried to find myself, the more lost I became.
Shortly after I wrote my original post, I started to meditate on a regular basis. I started with several guided podcasts I had downloaded and committed to giving it a try. It was awkward at first. And weird. I felt so stupid sitting there by myself in the dark. After a few weeks (or was it months?) I started to notice a small voice inside my head. It was whispering to me. And when I finally decided to try to listen, I didn’t much want to hear what it was saying.
“No one is coming to save you,” the whispers said.