I have an unfortunate habit of forgetting where I parked my car. Those who know me can attest. I’m the one you see wandering aimlessly – side streets, parking lots, parking garages – hoping that I’ll hear the familiar beep, as I repeatedly press lock/ unlock. Inevitably, it eventually beeps back, and a great sense of victory washes over. I can find my car amongst dozens of others in this infinite space, which must have been designed as a maze for the direction-impaired.
The sense of relief as my car gleams back at me, and momentary feelings of panic drift away, is so satisfying, the entire ordeal is almost worth it.
Almost. Until the next time (and there’s always a next time), when I hope and pray that this won’t be the time that I am forced to admit defeat, hail a cab, and send out a search party. Fortunately, I’ve never reported a lost car. And it always gives me a good laugh, once I’m safe and sound behind the wheel, eyes on the road ahead, cross streets fading in the rearview.
Searching for lost objects, be they temporarily misplaced, permanently vanished, or purely forgotten, is a tireless pursuit. As is looking for things outside of ourselves when we would do better to look within.
I was recently reminded of this, as my outer world became transitionally unstable. I turned to my bank account, my apartment, my daily routine for meaning and order that could only come from adjusting my gaze back toward myself.
It’s easy to feel out of touch with ourselves when our lives become increasingly unpredictable. And perhaps this is one of the most compelling invitations to live our days one at a time.
But even when we cannot readily connect with that which has sustained us for so long, we can still rely on ourselves, our uncompromised, most authentic selves, as our landscapes change.
There will always be misplaced keys, lost sunglasses, and sock graveyards. Life will always ebb and flow. And through it all, we are always just an inner glance away from ourselves.