Life has a funny way of leading us down unexpected paths, and sometimes, you have to get lost to find your way. For me, this became crystal clear during a solo hike in the breathtaking mountains outside of Denver, a journey that not only deepened my love for hiking but also helped me rediscover myself after a tumultuous divorce.
I began hiking when I was just a young child, exploring the woods in the small mountain town my family lived. It was in those quiet moments among the trees and trails pretending there were fairies out there watching me that I found solace and a connection to something greater than myself. But it wasn’t until I faced the darkest period of my life, my divorce, that hiking truly became my sanctuary.
A year after my divorce was finalized, I headed about an hour and a half from Denver to hike in the mountains I loved. The trail I chose was an 8-mile round trip loop, well within my comfort zone—or so I thought.
As I ventured deeper into the forest, I was overcome with a sense of tranquility, a feeling that the weight of my past had finally begun to lift. The rustling leaves and the sounds of wildlife were the perfect backdrop to my introspection. But then, something happened.
About four miles into the hike, the trail, which had been well-marked until that point, seemed to vanish into thin air. It was both puzzling and disconcerting. The path I had been following so confidently had disappeared beneath my feet.
Determined to continue, I decided to trust my instincts and forge ahead. I began to scout the ground, hoping to pick up the faintest trace of the trail. I took a few tentative steps, following what I believed had to be the right direction. However, as the minutes turned into an hour, it became painfully evident—I was lost.
Panic briefly welled up inside me, and for a moment, I questioned my decision to venture into the wilderness alone. Doubts about my abilities and fears of the unknown clouded my thoughts. I considered turning back, retracing my steps, and seeking the comfort of familiarity.
But then, as I turned to head back the way I had come, something extraordinary happened. As I walked away from the trail—or what I had believed was the trail—I felt a sense of liberation I hadn’t experienced in years. It was as if I had shed remnants of my past, leaving them behind with the pine trees.
In that moment of uncertainty and solitude, I discovered a new facet of myself—a fearless adventurer willing to embrace the unknown.
I realized in that moment that sometimes, getting lost is precisely what we need to find ourselves. It was as if the universe had conspired to guide me toward a path of self-discovery.
With each step I allowed myself to be fully present in the wilderness, absorbing the beauty of the untamed world around me.
As the day wore on, I eventually stumbled upon a different trail that led me safely back to my car. When I returned home, I couldn’t help but smile at the irony of it all. That day, I had set out to explore the mountains, but I had ended up exploring the depths of my own soul.
In the end, I had to get lost to find myself. I had to lose the familiar path to discover a new one, both on the hiking trail and in my own life. That hike that day was a turning point—a reminder that even in the face of uncertainty and adversity, we have the power to rediscover ourselves and find our way again.
But getting lost isn’t limited to hiking trails. In life, we often find ourselves lost in various ways—lost in relationships, lost in our jobs, or simply lost in the chaos of our daily routines. Just as I learned to navigate the wilderness, you can learn to find our way in these situations too.
In relationships, getting lost might mean losing sight of your own needs and desires while trying to meet the expectations of others. It can happen when you prioritize the happiness of a partner, a friend, or a family member at the expense of your own well-being. To be found again, you must rediscover your identity and voice, communicate your needs, and set boundaries that protect your emotional health.
Getting lost in your job can happen when you feel stuck in a monotonous routine, lacking passion or purpose. To be found again in your career, you may need to explore new interests, acquire new skills, or even change directions entirely. Sometimes, the most fulfilling path is the one less traveled.
And then there’s getting lost in the vast expanse of life itself, where you can feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of choices and possibilities. In these moments, finding your way may require self-reflection, goal-setting, and seeking support from loved ones or professionals who can help you chart a course toward fulfillment.
So, the next time life takes an unexpected turn and you find yourself feeling lost, remember that it might just be the beginning of a remarkable journey of self-discovery. Embrace the uncertainty, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to forge a new path.
After all, sometimes you have to get lost to find your way.
And never go hiking in the mountains without making sure someone knows you are out there! My family and friends knew where I was headed that day and I also checked in at the trailhead. And I had cell signal the entire time! Safety first!
Remember, You Got This!
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