You have to get lost before you find yourself”
quotes character Margo Roth Spiegelman in John Green’s movie-from-novel adaptation of Paper Towns.
At first, to be honest, I didn’t quite know what this meant. For the longest time, to save face, I pretended to know it’s meaning but it never really reasoned with me. That is, until I found a different quote of the same meaning as I was searching through Instagram.
Before I tell you this new quote however I want to tell you where I struggled. For starters, the idea of losing yourself to find yourself seemed like a comparison of massive proportions. I mean why would you ever need to lose yourself, and if doing so is necessary to find yourself, how do you do it?
My next struggle was with the term “finding yourself”. What does that even mean, trying to find yourself? Does it imply that I don’t have a grasp on who I truly am, or does it mean a radical reshaping of what I’ve known myself to be, but most importantly, does it hurt? I do’t think I was prepared for the answer.
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere but sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”
This enigmatic quote, from some unknown author, speaks greatly to me in ways that Green could not (which is not to say anything against his writing). What I saw in this quote is that it is not the act of losing yourself that makes you suddenly find yourself, but the simple act of being somewhere you are not used to that leads to the finding.
What does this all mean? Well clearly there is more than one way to find yourself, more than one way to discover who you truly are, but surely one of those ways is not by staying in your comfort zone.
So to answer my previous questions, what does getting lost even mean? Well, for starters, getting lost does not mean that you have to go and literally get lost. In fact, getting lost could mean many things, including nothing more than stepping out of your safety bubble we call a comfort zone. Getting lost could even stretch so far as to imply that in the middle of life’s hardest storms, one can find how they truly feel, what they truly want, and who they truly are.
So then what does finding yourself mean? That question is a little more loaded for the sheer fact that it could mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. For some it could be the realization that your job/major are not what you truly want it to be. For others it could mean a resifting of faith, a reframing of habits, or a realization of the self.
Finding yourself is a broad term for something very specific to everyone. Whether “finding yourself” needs to be preceded by a series of challenges or a series of lost convictions, I hope that you too will be in the middle of nowhere, lost, or simply out of your comfort zone so that you can truly find yourself in a whole new way.
Thank you all! Please keep safe this weekend, and remember to always respond!