“Finding myself” is one of those phrases that deserves the despite that it often gets. Like many other words and phrases it has become a watered-down excuse in many cases. However, I think that there is something to it. We do find ourselves wondering about who we are, and especially why we are. These are those thoughts that come to us when we wake up suddenly in the middle of the night, the world outside of us silent, creating room in our heads to think. Perhaps it is this silence and space that reminds us that we have lost our way, have never found it, or simply changed without realizing it.
Of course, to lose your way, you must first know which way you are going. This, I think, is where the despite for this otherwise beautiful thought comes from. Many of us who are out to “find ourselves” have never found anything much less our “self”. We have no way to get back to if we have no way to find. This is not as obtuse as it may first seem. Consider where our societies have come to today. We are far-removed from the agrarian lifestyles that we depend upon, the nature that we are a part of, and the relationships we depend upon for our well-being. It is an unfortunate truth that many of us have never experienced any of these lost albeit necessary components to life.
If we have lost our way, then we do not need to necessarily find it again if it was not the path that we wanted in the first place. Good trips are like this: being lost is part of the fun; not having a plan makes the trip interesting and often leads us to the very thing we were not looking for, but needed, in the first place. When I became more interested and involved in agrarianism, it was surprising to me just how revolutionary (in the political sense) that food is. To “opt out” of the system in any way seems to create ripples that are not welcome. I think this is because many people are on a path that they have not chosen. Perhaps losing their way is precisely what they need?
If there is anything that we all need it is to realize that change is the only consistent in life. We all change; whether or not we realize this is up to us. I had a friend that told me that after twenty-six years of marriage he realized that he did not know who his wife was: he had changed without realizing it. They were soon divorced. If there is a purpose to getting older, perhaps that purpose ought to be that we make sure we realize how we change; that we change is not in question.
So, in the end finding your way through life is like so many of the important things in life that get lost in the shuffle: love, family, time, philosophy, fun, and happiness. It is these things that we will have left in our lives if we grow old. It is my hope that we can all find our way long before we realize we can do nothing about the path we are on. Realize change while we can still do something about it, and we will find that life is truly worth living. Finding your way, we must remember, does not necessarily imply that there is path that we ought to be on. It simply means that there is a possible path for us all.