lost and found

After months of being half-guest, half-member, I signed up to be a member of Toastmasters! Here’s to my second speech, which I think I botched. I could have done better, but oh well, no matter how cliche it sounds experience is the best teacher.

I need to have a better preparation for the next one.

Has anyone of you been lost? Perhaps unknowingly took a wrong turn and found yourself in the middle of an unfamiliar
place…?

Fellow toastmasters and most welcome guests, I have. Countless times I have been lost— thrust into the unfamiliar, unsure of my location…not knowing my destination.

Let me tell you a story of how I got lost last Monday…

My friends decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather by going out. Straight from work I headed downtown.
After stepping off the train, I was assured that I knew where I was going – with my iPhone in hand, I was
confidently following the directions that googlemaps had conveniently laid out for me. Everything seemed going to be
the way things were supposed to be: the sun was shining, the breeze caressing my face as I was walking…and so there I
was, a happy camper, on my way to meet them for dinner.

Walking further along and looking for any sign of the restaurant, I realized that I wasn’t going anywhere near the place
where we agreed to meet. The map stopped making sense and I decided to ditch it. I suddenly didn’t know where
my feet were taking me. 1-2-3 blocks after, I caught sight of the famous Olympic Cauldron—but what stood behind
it enamoured me even more! I took a wrong turn and found myself staring in awe at those majestic, towering, snow-
capped North Shore mountains…coupled with the pink and orange of the blushing sky.

I got lost and I could honestly say that it was beautiful.

Interestingly, looking back…I have faced the same predicament of getting lost…now knowing where I was going…not
knowing what I was doing with my life. In to my fifth year at university, I couldn’t wait to get school over and done with!
I knew exactly what I was going to do—get my degree, get a job in the area I studied in, travel with friends…typical young adult dreams.

Everything was laid out in front of me. Everything seemed going to be the way things were supposed to be: I was doing
well in school and there were opportunities opened for me..

and so there I was feeling confident I could take over the world.

However, inching closer to my last semester…real life started to settle in. Is this the right career for me? Am I going the
right path? What about my responsibilities to my family? Will I survive the jungle that I was to face after school?

I felt lost. Suddenly I didn’t know where I was going. Questions filled my days, and anxiety replaced my excitement.

As if that was not enough, life threw me a curve ball. We received our Canadian immigrant visa! Everyone in my family
was exhilarated –except for me. I was terrified! All of a sudden, I didn’t know what was going to happen…I didn’t know
where my life was heading! What would happen to my degree? What would happen to my dream job? To my friends?

I wondered if my life had suddenly taken a wrong turn. Things had not turned out the way I planned them to be. And I
was just itching how things would turn out. Along the way I may have possibly took a few more wrong turns, outcomes
less desirable than what I was expecting…but in the end, I could still honestly say that it was and it still is beautiful. Hey
I’m still fully alive and kicking, am I not? Just taking it one step at a time,…

This is not to glorify and to condone the act of taking wrong turns and just let things break loose… I might have not
enough credibility to say this since I am young and inexperienced, as my elders would say: I still have so much to learn…
but from that Monday afternoon incident… I was reminded that it was ok to get lost. It’s ok not to know the answers. It
is in the discovery where magic happens … we just have to open our eyes and see it as it unfolds.

I would like to end with one of Rilke’s quotes in his letters to F Kappus, “Don’t search for the answers, which could not
be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions
now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

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