Getting lost

This morning I went for a run. Now – that doesn’t happen very often, but I felt the need to stretch my legs. And promptly got lost. Not lost lost – I was in Roundhay Park Woods after all, but I took a wrong turn and suddenly I was running along a path I’ve never been to and I didn’t know how to get back.

At first, I was a bit annoyed. I’m not a great runner, and I like to know that I can do a route in 20 minutes and then head back home, without doing too much damage to my legs. Call it laziness, if you wish. But when you are lost, it doesn’t work that way.

Suddenly, all these different paths are ahead of you and it’s pure luck whether the one you take is the one that will get you back to the ‘right’ path, or whether it will open up even more paths into the unknown. (Well, in my case it is, because I have no sense of direction.)

So, what was supposed to be a nice and well-known plod around a small lake turned into a ‘where-the-heck-am-I-now’ plod with frantic head movements to the left and right. And although I was annoyed with myself at first for getting lost (again!), I slowly started enjoying it, because I ran along a really nice little river and over bridges that I had no idea existed. It was beautiful and I made some acquaintances along the way – mainly dogs.

Then suddenly the path turned really muddy, it was quite gross really. Again, something I hadn’t expected before I headed off because as far as I am aware it’s not rained for a few days. Goes to show what I know about woods J I was getting a bit annoyed again, thinking: ‘Eew, I really don’t want to run through that!’ I was looking for another path, but there wasn’t one, so I had no choice but to continue. The mud was so deep, it seeped through my trainers. Running was impossible, not that I run fast anyway, but this was more of a gliding walk. I got spluttered in mud, my feet were wet and I found it hard to keep my balance and not end up on my bum. And then I nearly slipped down a slope and I couldn’t help myself – I laughed out loud (and startling some poor dog walker in the process). And I had to admit to myself: it was fun! At this point I didn’t even try finding drier bits in the path, I just went through the mud.

Getting lost was brilliant!

Back at the flat, while frying up an egg, it suddenly occurred to me that life is very similar. As you may have gathered from my previous post, I am currently feeling lost and don’t know where to take my career – and therefore also my life, because the two are connected. I know that I cannot possibly spend the next 25 years or so behind a desk in an office, but I just don’t know what else to do without starving to death.

What I tend to do in life (and that probably relates to a lot of people), is go the safe and well-known route. I know what to expect, I know how long it will take and I know the outcome of my actions. But just like running a well-known route along a small lake, it’s boring. It’s no challenge. It may get me back home in a reasonable time, but it’s certainly not working my muscles as it should. And that’s why I don’t go running very often.

But getting lost today meant that I was out much longer than expected, I explored an area in the woods I hadn’t seen before, I had to make on the spot decisions about where to go so as not to get completely off the route, I giggled along with some dog walkers while trying to manoeuvre around each other in the mud, I learnt that I could run for much longer than I thought I could, and even while writing this I can already feel the muscles in my legs complaining, which is what running should all about, isn’t it? I ran with a smile on my face. I feel happy – I can tackle anything.

So, I guess it’s true what they say. In order to find the perfect job you have to start thinking differently. I’m going to go even further. What if there is no perfect job? What if there are lots of different jobs that together form a conglomerate of ‘the perfect job’. It’ll keep it more interesting as well. Something to ponder about. Watch this space.

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