When does being lost officially become a thing?

At what point can one say that they are definitively “lost”?

There is no one in the world that has not had the feeling of being lost, on some level, whether it be on an emotional or geographic basis.

Friday night, Gary, Melissa, and myself were on a trail run at Stanky Creek in Bartlett, TN. We were running a seven mile loop and planned to be off the trail at around 8pm. I have run this trail at least ten times before, however I have been lost, at some point, during each of those times. I have no internal compass, so I was going to be of no use to us. I made that perfectly clear, on the front end, but I don’t think that Gary nor Melissa understand the level of my sincerity.

As nightfall started to set in, and we closed in on the seven mile mark, we did not have the feeling that we were getting closer to the trail head. The ground before us was beginning to fade to black, and the trees around us were starting to blend together as one. I could sense the angst as Gary was beginning to worry, and Melissa had places she need to be. For once in my life, I was not panicked, because I am always lost. I do my panicking outside of the trail, when the rest of the world is calm. The trail is not really a place where I get bent out of shape. On the trail, I almost never know where I am going, therefore I seldom feel “lost”. It is simply a place that I go to get away.

As daylight was running out, it was time to make some decisions. We had options. The option to jump off the trail and head in a straight line would eventually lead us out of the woods, unsure of where we would come out, or we could continue on the trail, and hope that we found the trail head. Either way, I began to think.

At what point, can we consider ourselves “lost”?

We are in the middle of Bartlett, not the Amazon. We are surrounded by paved roads, brick houses, and electrical wires. Sure, we are having a hard time seeing our hands in front of our face, and we don’t know which direction to proceed, but does that make us lost, or does it just leave us with crappy options?

Do we continue searching, lay down and die, or, worst case, wait it out, until daylight comes?

We all had different reasons for our level of panic, which caused us to feel different degrees of lost. Gary was supposed to meet someone at another location, Melissa had her daughter’s birthday to prepare for that night, and I really had nowhere to be until Sunday, and wanted to get a Dodge’s pizza sometime between now and then.

It occurred to me that the feeling of being lost, was primarily based on our personal plans and feeling of obligation. It had very little do do with our current situation, and everything to do with our expectation. Our degree of lost was based on where we thought we “should” be in our life, and where we believed others “expected” us to be.

As we jumped off of the trail, we  found ourselves safely in a neighborhood about 2.5 miles off course. It was then, I realized the feeling of being lost, along with the darkness and loneliness which usually accompanies it, is, in fact, based on a false system of beliefs that I have created, based on my life experiences.

Next time that I feel the loneliness and despair that comes with not knowing which direction to go, I will be aware that this does not mean I am “lost”, but maybe not entirely thrilled with options in front of me. I need to remember that when I feel abandoned, hopeless, afraid, and lost in the woods, chances are, if I choose a path and stay consistent, eventually I find a populated area with people who are willing to help get me where I want to be.

Keep moving forward.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You are never truly alone.

***On a side note, while Gary was asking for help, as he approached a man’s vehicle, the driver threatened to shoot him…..so, you might want to be thoughtful in your approach to asking for help.***

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,