We don’t often get lost anymore.

I used to get lost. On purpose.

I was 17, living in a small town that was still unfamiliar. We’d only moved there the tail end of the summer before.

Now it was June of the next year and I was working a fast food drive-thru until the late night hours.

I drove a Buick Park Avenue to that job. It was modeled the year I was born.

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It was bulky and unreliable. The ceiling lining was collapsing, pockmarked by staples I had shoved in to try to make the damage less apparent.

But it was freedom.

And when the last light flickered out in the burger joint’s parking lot, I was loosed to take the long way home.

I’d drive part way to where I was headed and then choose a side road, an alley, a neighborhood entrance. I would keep making these choices – a choose-your-own-adventure paperback in real life – until I didn’t quite know where I was.

Then I would take a deep breath, try to retrace my turns, and figure out how all of my choices had connected.

This is how I learned to navigate.

We don’t often get lost anymore.

I once got lost on a bicycle on a vacation island with a 4-year-old.

And it started to get dark. I didn’t know much, but I did know we were miles away from where we were supposed to be.

But there is a photo from that night that shows that 4-year-old with the biggest smile on her face, the half of her hair not contained by a bike helmet is blowing in the wind. The ocean is behind her.

She is not scared as the sunsets. She holds on tight and trusts we will be home soon.

I kept singing with her and headed the best way I knew how.

This is how I learned parenthood.

We don’t often get lost anymore.

I recently read a magazine excerpt where a writer collected stories from around the country of the last time a person remembered truly being lost.

The stories were interesting – but more interesting was how few there were and hard it seemed to be for people to remember what it is like to not know where you are.

We depend on awareness. We thrive on knowing.

We created better and better maps and now we know all of the routes, turn-by-turn.

Now we arrive on time.

We don’t often get lost anymore.

We just aren’t that good at driving.

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