Relax, Being Lost is a Good Thing

5 Apr

Of all the annoying questions I’m asked on a daily basis, I think my favorite has to be this one…

“Where do you want to be in five years?”

My response?

“Wherever Ryan Gossling is.”

JK…that’s where I want to be NOW. Not in five years :D

No but seriously, this question really upsets me.

You see, I’ve always been an obsessive compulsive planner. Three years ago, I would have been able to answer that question down to the kind of toilet paper I’d be using in five years. At 18 I thought I knew exacly what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I knew exacly what kind of job I wanted and I thought I had met the guy I would marry. We were going to have really pretty babies.

Seemed like a pretty good plan to me. Only, it wasn’t.

Throughout college I found that my interests changed…that there were so many things I could do with my life…and well, I became confused. But that’s what happens! We become lost and we freak out because we don’t have it all figured out. All our plans get thrown out the window and we don’t know what to do.

The URL to my blog is so people have asked me why I’m lost.

“Kayla, you don’t seem lost, you don’t look lost, so how are you lost?”

The way I see it, most young people today ARE lost.

We graduate from college and enter the “Real World” having no idea what we’re getting ourselves into. We have a million life decisions to make and it sucks. We often have no idea what to do or what direction to go in. So we’re lost.

And I used to think that being lost was a terrible thing. But recently, I’ve come to understand that I love being lost. I don’t know EXACTLY what I want to do. I don’t know EXACTLY where I want to be in 5 years and I love that. Because I’m just starting to figure myself out. In order to really live your life, you’ve got to be a little lost. I promise, it’s not a bad thing.

I got lost on one of the best dates I’ve ever been on. Being from Miami, we went to a boat show.

Freaking beautiful day. You would have thought we were tourists because we got on the wrong bus like seven different times. But the beauty of the day was that we had no plan…no ultimate destination…and so we were open to anything that came our way. That’s what made it so amazing. There was no disappointment, no pressure, we just wandered about aimlessly, fully embracing everything. I was open to new experiences, didn’t let setbacks piss me off, and it turned out to be one of my favorite days. If that’s what being lost is like, I really don’t mind.

Think about this…

So no, I don’t have a five year plan. I don’t have a two year plan. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner. But I trust that everything will end up okay and I think that’s what makes my life so exciting.

64 Responses to “Relax, Being Lost is a Good Thing”

  1. Grown and Flown April 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    GREAT post. Truly. But prepare yourself because I know a lot of people who still feel this way at 50!

    • Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      Let me ask you Grown, are you happy?
      Are you passionate and what would you friends say about your passion? Whatever it is……
      Your family?
      Your job?
      Your home?

    • shirleythinking April 9, 2012 at 9:44 am #

      Absolutely, I’m 49 and do. I don’t like being lost. I like to have a broad purpose and plan, but what makes a plan for me changes. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 5 years time, but I’d love to have a rough view of this year and how I can shape it and enjoy it.

  2. Kimberly Crossland April 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    ‘Lost’ doesn’t have to be a four letter word. Way to embrace it!

    • Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      Kimberly, please, with all due respect, it is a four letter word and a negative one at that.
      Please read my post below and tell me what you think afterwards.


  3. becca3416 April 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    It takes a while to come to terms with being “lost,” but I agree, it is a great thing. In fact, I feel bad for the people who don’t ever stop and really think about what they want. They just keep going down that same road even when they can see that it is coming to a dead end… doing that is all about knowing what to expect. BUT, that doesn’t mean the known outcome will be better than the unknown outcomes! Glad I am not the only lost one out here.

  4. jomcdermott April 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Interesting that you should write about this today, because this came up for me today, as well. I was redoing my “Goals” form for my coaching website.

    I had this question on my form:

    Where do you want to be five years from now? (include money, professional, personal activities, time off, etc). do not worry about “how” it will be achieved, jut list your desires)

    This is a regular coach question–unlikely that you can go to a coach and not have them ask that question.

    My reaction when I was reviewing it was that it really wasn’t relevant for young people (and maybe not so much for older people, either, any more). So I took it out. Then I thought more about it–if people really do have a plan or, more likely, a dream, then I should know it so that I can help them on it.

    So I changed it to:

    When you think longer term, perhaps 5 years from now, where would you like to be? (include money, professional, personal activities, time off, etc). do not worry about “how” it will be achieved, jut list your desires)

    I’m open to suggestions on how to ask it better– in a way that wouldn’t rub you the wrong way. Is there a way that I could ask the question that would stay open to the pleasure of “lostness.”

    • shirleythinking April 9, 2012 at 9:46 am #

      When I coach I say, ‘What would you like to think about?’ this is the start of Nancy Kline’s Thinking Partnership, which allows the thinker to structure their thoughts in their own way.

  5. imabusinessman April 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    It’s definitely more exciting when you don’t know where you’re going

  6. DwayneBaptist April 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm #


    I love your honesty. I think there are 3 kinds of people when it comes to long range planning: Those that are obsessive compulsive and think they must have every detail planned exactly right or they can’t move forward (then they never get it exactly right and never move forward); those that, because they haven’t managed to move forward give up and never want to plan again (as Grown and Flown said, I also know 50-year olds in this category); and then there are those who understand that a plan is a flexible tool that organizes and articulates one’s priorities in order to EMPOWER them to make plans as they live life.

    German military genius von Clausewitz said something to the effect “The plan is no good the moment the first round is fired.” His point is that planning is good, but life gets in the way. Knowing our priorities (think purpose, values) help us live and know which buses to take and which to pass up–and how to tell if we’ve taken the wrong bus! (Tying back to your post.)

    If you never plan, you’ll never get what you want. You can’t build a skyscraper or even a decent house without a plan. Your life should be planned, just not slavishly so.


  7. novel brand communications April 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    You have your entire lost to be focused and deliberate. Glad you know how to enjoy the moment!

  8. Gerald Lane Summers April 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Being lost is relative. By that I mean relative to how you feel about yourself and what you are doing with your life. There is a time for driving hard, a time for pleasure, a time for kicking back; but there is never enough time for learning what life is all about. You will only know if you are advancing if you are doing what you like to do, or wanted to do all your life but kept putting off. After a lifetime of learning, you will finally come to a place where you know everything you ever needed or wanted to know. That is when you should start writing, and there is nothing in the world more satisfying than writing fiction.
    I now have two books published and am well into a third. See what they are about at Gerald Lane Summers

  9. John April 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    If you’re never lost you can never find your way.

  10. mizzmariiel April 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Pass me some positiveness of yours please because feeling lost is killing me! x) I understand that it can be exciting to just live life and go along with it. But its just so hard for me to do that, especially when people keep asking “So you graduated, what are you doing now?” or when friends around you have these awesome plans that motivate them to keep going and you’re just like eh what do I want to do? What goal am I trying to reach?

    I’m just gonna try to look at the positive side of being lost. Maybe I can see it just like you do one day lol. Btw, I loved that last picture :)

    • Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Being “lost” is never a positive thing and that will kill you.
      It will kill your spirit, your enthusiasm and eventually your true self.
      Dont let it.
      As long as you view yourself as such it will always be a negative.
      Be passionate at what you do and seek your happiness the rest will most assuredly come.

  11. maggsworld April 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    This post made me smile. If you are lost and have let go and found a way to learn something and are enjoying the journey, mayhap lost is not quite the right expression?? / label???? Sometimes, the journey is the key. Stepping down that first step to begin may just illuminate where you are supposed to go!!!

    • Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

      There you go. That’s the way.
      Awesome comment Mags

  12. gabyyelton April 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    Reblogged this on A place in this world… and commented:
    This sums up exactly how I feel about my life.

  13. theresultsmayvary April 6, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    I think that there is a difference between getting to where you want to be by an unexpected, unscripted path and not knowing where you want to be. One of my mentors said to me that opportunity never comes at an opportune time, but it rarely comes twice. So you need to be free to seize the the opportunities that excite and frighten if they will take you somewhere you want to go.

  14. ToggyOrderedChowder April 6, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I loved this post. I have been feeling so lost, but now I have a new way to think of it. Thank you, Lost Gen Y Girl. =) Diana

    • Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Please read my post below. Being “lost” is not a good thing.
      Society will not sympathize with being “lost”.
      It projects defeat.

  15. xoEvelynOrtizHasSpoken April 6, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    I feel the same way as you, everything had to be planned out however I have now come to grips to accept that sometimes its nice feeling lost. Taking/Accepting things as they come.

  16. Jane April 6, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    I figure if you trust yourself you’re not lost.
    You’re only lost when you lose sight of who you are and we all go there once in a while.

    • Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Way to go Jane. Show your passion at whatever you are doing.

  17. rdopping April 6, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Hey Kayla,
    You have a way with words, for sure. I kind of agree with Dwayne and was going to suggest something similar. A plan is just that. A plan, for my model of project management, is something with a future goal in mind. “In 5 years I plan to have a consulting business from my blog” as a for instance. It’s how you get there that’s the fun part.

    It’s good to be “lost” or have a loose easy going approach to getting there and let life guide you toward your goals. When I was in my 20’s (20 years ago) I was in the exact same spot as you. Carefree. As you should be. The benefit is time and it is good to use it to help yourself find the right path. Everyone gets there eventually. If you don’t know now, two months from now or a year from now your fine. It will come to you one day when you’re least expecting it and just like anything it life you’ll know if it’s right.

    Great post.

  18. Aja April 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    I love this post. I can’t stand being lost and have most of my life all planned right now, but I am 18 and expect things to change once I enter college and the real world. I just hope I can relax and see being lost as a good thing. I guess I know where I don’t want to be, which is probably plan enough.

    • Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      It’s not a good thing. Where did you get that I dea? Have you ever see where being lost is a good thing?
      Seek find yourself and seek happiness and you will be one day found.

  19. B. M. Wells April 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

    steve jobs

    • Kayla Cruz April 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      This is amazing. I love it! Thank you. Man that guy was smart. :D

  20. danielleelisemiller April 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel. It is interesting being lost because you can learn so much in the process. I have know idea where I will be, but I love trying new things and deciding if I want to continue running with it. That’s how I felt when I graduated. I had no idea where I was going because nobody would hire me and I felt that I got my degree for nothing. I ended up with my internship at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., but honsetly I didn’t ever think I would be working at a company like that. So, maybe I experience more we have to be lost! :)

  21. neilshreedhar April 7, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    Nice work Kayla, and you’re right on the money I feel….I heard a great Toastmasters speech ( from Professional Speaker and Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking Mark Hunter which stated the same message. Keep enjoying life! Cheers, ns.

  22. shreyanswers April 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I kinda agree. We twenty somethings are lost because we get way too many options to deal with on an everyday basis. Be it cereals, clothes, friends (facebook ones included), dreams or possibilities. We can be so much more than our predecessors. Even if we plan a lot, after a certain period even our plans change. We are dynamic. And a little unstable. Well, not little.

    But one thing I can assure you is that you are not alone in this ‘lost’ world.

  23. Zookeeper April 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    No, No No!
    I cannot believe what I am reading.
    So you guys are feeling lost, huh.
    Because life hasn’t delivered to you what you feel are your dreams on a silver platter.
    Because you’ve been disappointed in someone’s actions, or your boss, or even who you thought would of been your life partner.
    Or, you’ve make some bad choices and they proved themselves to be bad choices and you feel you are being unfairly treated as a result.
    And now, you are “lost”.
    Well I, for one, refuse to allow any of you to fall into this defeated attitude that will only allow you to blame everything on someone else.
    Be it a person, a buisness or a generation.
    That’s what I call a “cop out” and I will not stand for any of you to continue thinking this is the way to be or act like this is the “trendy” thing to do.
    Your copping out of taking responsibility for you actions, your thoughts and your dreams and I won’t stand for it and society won’t be sympathetic to that.

    The fact that you all are here on this blog discussing how passionate you are and how much you want to contribute to this society hardly allows for you to be categorized as “lost”.
    With all due respect Gen Y girl, it’s not a good thing. It’s a very negative thing.
    The word itself gives off a negative connotation that I don’t believe you or anyone would want to be associated with.
    Don’t believe me. Look up the word.

    Someone once asked me in an interview,”What is your secret to success?”.
    I immediately responded without hesitation, “Seek your happiness and all you desire will follow”.
    You see guys success should not the object of your desire.
    Happiness is….
    Success is the by product of happiness.
    Not the other way around.

    I am looking foward to you guys response on this and to perhaps one day a change in the name of this URL.
    You never know what life hold is store for you… you?

  24. procopia marie April 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I envy you, really. I wish I still have the luxury of being lost. At may age, I need to have some things figured out. It sucks — the feeling of always running against time. Like you, I had no five-year plan, not even a year. I wasn’t good at planning for myself because I always end up going against it. I felt I was drifting for 15 years and I am stuck in a place where I so long to get out of. But with my life’s constants now, I know I can only change direction a little or worse, none at all.

  25. Carmen Djemalian April 7, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Love your post and the attitude! Lost is not a bad thing at all, and maybe while you are lost, you can discover amazing things that you can become passionate about for future plans… Without going through this phase, how would you discover yourself right??

  26. Julianna April 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Ahhh, the faith (knowing) that it’s all going to work out us really ALL you need. Hold with that belief, shine it from your heart, and you’re good to go!

    Glad you found my site – hope it brings spots of joy and inspiration and beauty into your life!

  27. zookeeper April 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    If you choose on being lost…
    always keep your eyes open and looking for your turn to contribute…

  28. Laura April 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    This is really great. Like you said, we’re all a little lost.

    My friend once told me that being lost is like living in chaos: You have to embrace it and become an agent of chaos.

    Here’s something for inspiration:

  29. kissmysass7 April 9, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    Kayla! I absolutely love this post! I have to say, I OWN being lost. As much as I depend on, and need to have plans, sometimes the best days are when I have absolutely no plans and just wander!! I love it! I also love your amazing blog. I’m honored you’ve followed mine! <3

  30. makethea April 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Reblogged this on makethea.

  31. thoughtsontheatre April 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Wonderfully put. Thanks for giving a voice to the confusion many of us encounter as we enter the “real world” and are expected to have all the answers.

  32. dianewrites April 10, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    When I was a kid, I could easily answer questions “what are my plans?” “what do i want to achieve?” Ironically, as I grow up and learn more things, I find it harder to answer these questions. If I would describe my life right now, I am more of the person who goes with the folow. Some would claim that it’s not a good sign and path to success. But for some reason, I believe that going with the flow and getting lost are what make my life worth living. They serve as the spice or adventure that perks me up.

  33. Neetika April 10, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    Oh! I think you just read my mind there…. I also HATE it when someone asks me where i want to be in the next 5 years, 10 years etc….. i have no sense of planning and i’ve done quite well thus far in my life! I like not knowing whats gonna happen tomorrow or the next year or a decade later. I like being a little lost too.. :)

  34. ivonprefontaine April 12, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    This is an interesting posting and it struck a personal chord on two levels. Several months ago, I was asked what I was going to do when I finished my doctorate. These types of questions are the domanin of those who think that we have some control and certainty in planning the future. At the same time, I was completing an independent study class on mindfulness and it confirmed the absolute need to dwell on what we know is certain, living in the present moment. Being present, in each moment, is its own reward and is as thrilling as it gets. Well said Kayla.

  35. ivonprefontaine April 12, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    This is an interesting posting and it struck a personal chord on two levels. Several months ago, I was asked what I was going to do when I finished my doctorate. These types of questions are the domanin of those who think that we have some control and certainty in planning the future. At the same time, I was completing an independent study class on mindfulness and it confirmed the absolute need to dwell on what we know is certain, living in the present moment. Being present, in each moment, is its own reward and is as thrilling as it gets. Well said Kayla.

  36. Growth...The Next Level April 19, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    Kayla, this is great!!! I am glad that someone is telling the real story about life after college. There are alot of people who are employed, attending graduate schools, or have degrees that are still lost. The funny thing is how many people are afraid to admit it. Good work!

  37. WittyCookie April 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Being lost is not necessary a bad thing. It’s time for us to learn about who we are and what we want to do. As long as we keep a positive and proactive attitude, we will eventually find our own paths. – “Keep Calm and Carry On”!

  38. bhansen2390 April 26, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    First of all, thanks for the follow!

    But second, are you inside my head? Wow, this nailed it. I am so happy to have read this post. Can’t wait to see what else you have to say.

  39. just *k May 3, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    I love and echo the sentiment. Well said. And thanks for the visit to the Middle Notes!

  40. Sparkle & W(h)ine May 4, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Oh, to have been this wise when I was 21. Don’t rush finding yourself. You can’t truly be the right someone for someone else until you’ve really discovered who you are anyway. ;) excellent blog post. Oh, and I, also, would like to be wherever Ryan Gosling is…particularly his abs. (((sigh)))

  41. here May 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    How come you do not have your web site viewable in mobile format? cant view anything in my netbook.

  42. swimwithnic October 11, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    When I was 22 and people asked me that question, I didn’t give much thought to it and I just say I’m open to options and see where it leads me. They all told me I need a plan and I heck care. In hindsight, they were right.

    It’s nice not to have plans once in while or most of the times when it comes to FUN stuff. But when it comes to career, no biggie if you need 1-3yrs to figure out but after that, it’s better to have a plan.

    The problem with not having a goal is that you end up running around the field. :)

  43. visualeblogbook October 26, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Reblogged this on visualeblogbook and commented:
    we are not alone :)

  44. shalisayw January 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Where is the LOVE BUTTON?!?! I am definitely so lost right now it hurts!!

  45. scrap car London August 19, 2014 at 9:24 am #

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    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
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