NPR had a segment Wednesday about the psychology of getting lost and knowing your way. Colin Ellard, wrote You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall.
The interview was amusing. We all get lost. Sometimes, we get lost for a long time. Sometimes we give up and decide that the road we are on, even though the wrong road, is “just fine”. We make do. The author of this books says that the best thing to do when we are lost is to simply stand still. Wait. My instant question was, “For how long?”
How long must I wait until I find my way? How long before I have the courage to ask for directions? How long before some fool tools by and I hijack their vehicle, commandeering it for my own selfish destination? How long before a search team comes looking for me? I packed no flares. I once had a map, but it is long gone. I don’t have provisions. I thought I knew this stretch of road, but suddenly none of it looks familiar. In fact, it looks treacherous and a bit frightening. This is unchartered territory and there is not a soul in sight. Standing still and waiting seems foolish at best and life-threatening at worst.
Just keep moving. At least I feel “productive”. Does it matter that I am walking in circles?