“Are you okay, Cassie? You look a little lost.”
These are actual words that someone spoke to me just a few days ago, seemingly out of nowhere. There I was at work, sat at the large conference room table in our team room, hands resting on either side of the track pad on the laptop whirring before me. The comment registered slowly, the words stringing themselves together one by one. First as a question, then more definitively a statement. Bold. Final. It took a few seconds for me to understand, to look up and realize that I had been eyes unfocused, completely still, and staring at nothing. Someone was expectant.
“I am lost.”
The words tumbled from my mouth before I had any reason to stop them, before I even knew what they were. Impulsive. Reactive. But veritable.
Someone had no follow up to my words; no question, no statement, no second glance. To them, the call and response was satisfied but to me, the damage was done. This was an attack on the state. A targeted polemic. This sparked an aberrant enlightenment, an existential crisis.
It was disturbing. I left the experience feeling slightly disturbed. Sitting there, in the same spot, at the same table. Hands in the same place, shifting my gaze back to the screen of my computer. Thinking to myself over and over again, “I’m lost?!”
Let’s take a moment to examine lost, AKA Etymolo-gee that sounds fun!:
- unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts.
- denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered.
Great. Awesome. Boding well so far.
Surely this someone, this incomplete stranger who knows me but barely, must be referring to one of the many different states in which a person can be lost.
Physically (especially if someone tells you to get that way). Something fairly obvious about my corporeal presence in that room told me that their statement was not referring to the physical. Unless they meant health wise? Sure, I don’t exercise as much as I should. I get approximately 0 of the vitamins I’m probably supposed to in a day, unless Budweiser and Bourbon now count as ‘B’ supplements. My skin is slowly preparing to stage its revolt against my shoddy sunscreen shenanigans. My muscles left me high and dry a long, long time ago but I’m still breathing. I could always do with more water, but I’m trying. On the whole I am very lucky to be so healthy, considering.
Mentally, or intellectually, lost. I’m no Mensa candidate. No Nobel prize winner. A Pulitzer would be rad, but we’re not there yet either. Sure I wish I read more books. I wish I was still in school studying things of interest, expanding the depths of my intellect. I wish I encountered more stimulants, via people or materials or places or things. Again, on the whole, those are all matters of will power. The options are available to me should I seek them.
Emotionally, I am more in tune than any human being probably should be. Everything is felt at the extremes. Jasper Hale wouldn’t come near me with a ten foot pole. Sometimes unstabling events occur, but those occur to everyone, all of the time, all over the world. There are recoveries. The movie ends, the stubbed toe de-inflames itself, you work out the puzzle, the day takes a turn. Sadness, anger, frustration, happiness; the emotions are assuaged. In my case, they’re there to my beck and call whenever the need should arise.
Socially lost doesn’t feel right either. Employing as much humility as the sentence allows, I have friends. I have family. I don’t see all of them frequently, but the channels are there. I’m fortunate enough to have the relationships, to be able to pick up the phone or open my email, to jump on a plane or walk down the street. There are times when I prefer to keep to myself for a bit, sure, but I consider myself a balanced intrextrovert. Enough encounters occur that I couldn’t possibly declare social neglect.
Spiritual loss is too broad a piece of this puzzle. Shall I use the phrase once more? On the whole, I’m content with how this one gets worked out. True, I don’t attend mass as much as I should. Faith is there, in some way, but I’ll be honest I make half of this stuff up as I go along. I still repress thoughts that I feel less inclined to think these days. But do I feel abandoned or afraid or disavowed, in the spiritual sense? Absolutely not. I have breakthrough moments just walking down the street or after an adrenaline rush or lying on a yoga mat at the end of a class, feeling the heat of my physical existence rolling off of me in waves, awakening this inner spiritual sense of presence. It’s practically factual that within us all, this is the sense in which humanity is most complex. It’s almost impossible to define for and measure against others. We all operate under our own plane of forces.
Major states examined, nothing notably out of the ordinary. Yet still,
“I am lost.”
To be honest, I’ve known for quite some time now that things weren’t all there for me. There has been a feeling, an off-ness if you will. Supposedly, this manifestation of loss is derived from said off-ness, but upon my detailed review of the senses everything seems fine (and not in the ‘Fine.’ way, in the acceptable way). Off-ness is not unusual these days, it is simply a product of change. This is the point in my life for adjustment. There are gears turning into and out of one another, anchor weights lessening, pendulums hitching, chimes changing. Is this not the first of two age brackets in which I’m supposed to be lost? My early twenties, the world at my fingertips, the limitless spectrum of opportunity. Then again later on in the mid-life region, facing enclosure, reexamining purpose.
When someone, or something, prompts this kind of self-examination, you begin grasping to find anything at all that might possibly be wrong, anything that might be different. Maybe nothing was wrong, nothing was different. Again, this someone barely knows me, but maybe barely was enough.
Imaginatively lost was as close as I could get to anything plausible. Things that once ruled over my imagination unbridled have since diminished. It’s something I’ve been cognizant of, but not attentive to. I read, but less than I used to. I write, but less than I used to. I watch and I listen, both less than I used to. I daydream just about every moment I can spare it, albeit less than I used to. But to call me lost for that seems heavy-handed.
On the whole, I suppose it’s fair to admit that there is a piece of me in flux. Not lost, so much as out taking a walk, hiding itself away for a while, subconsciously adventuring, seeing what it can learn from the bit of world within me that it feels a need to become more familiar with. It’ll return. It’ll get homesick and trek its way back to me and maybe some other piece will feel inspired to take a turn at expedition.
I, right here, right now, at this point in my life, am lost. I’m out looking for someone, something, someplace. And this will continue, on and on, likely to the end of my nights. Pieces out, pieces in. Coming and going. Lost and found.