Have you ever taken a wrong turn and were glad you did? If you have, know that you have the heart of an adventurer. It’s one of the best ways to stay young at heart.
There are other benefits to getting lost, as well.
Sometimes when I’m running errands or driving to a regular destination, I purposefully take a different way there than the usual efficient route. Doing things differently builds new neural networks in the brain and can offer surprising new discoveries, like finding a cool neighborhood or park you didn’t know about, or a great new taco place. Or, just a better route.
Dallas, where I live, is in the midst of a boom right now. While that means lots of construction detours and traffic, it also means neighborhoods often change in the blink of an eye. Some friends had raved about a fantastic new bakery in a formerly worn-down part of town, so I decided to check it out. They weren’t wrong; the pastries tasted straight out of a French patisserie.
But the real icing on the éclair was the complete change in that neighborhood. Streets now had an interesting mix of funky bars, upscale restaurants, and creative boutiques. Now I can’t wait to go back and spend a day wandering through the neighborhood and getting lost again.
On the way home, refreshed and excited by this new discovery, I drove around, on the lookout for more changes in the landscape. Everything started to look the same again and then, voila, I took a wrong turn because the city had changed an exit and I found myself in yet another new neighborhood I had previously bypassed on the freeway. Suddenly, a neighborhood I never even knew existed I could now see as somebody else’s home, complete with its own local history and gossip mill.
Get Lost in Life, Too
Sometimes we also get lost in life. Whether it’s on purpose or out of necessity (divorce, loss of a loved one, or even loss of a job), we have to do something completely new, or do something old in a completely new way. Whatever the reason, when we try something new, more options open up, like branches on a tree.
It’s the act of saying, “Yes, I’m off-course, but I’m going to try this and see what happens” that can magically jump-start a new chapter in your life.
Try this exercise: Make 2 lists. One contains the habits you want to break. The other list is for activities and experiences you’ve wanted to explore but didn’t have time due to long work hours or your partner wasn’t interested, etc. so you put them on the back burner.
Next to the habits you want to release, write the habit you want to replace it with, like trading
“binge watching Netflix” with “taking a tapas cooking class.” And then make it happen. Be fully present and you’ll start to see things in a new light. The next thing you know, you’ll be hosting a tapas tasting party!
Choose to become a deliberate wanderer and see what you discover, externally and internally. It might just be your true self.