When I was about four years old, my uncle lived in Budapest, Hungary. One summer we visited him.
I remember a very long car drive and an even longer queue we had to wait in to get across the border.
I remember the playground, and begging my mom to let me ask for the ice-cream we were about to buy. I always asked for the ice-cream in Kolozsvár, so when presented with the opportunity, I asked for it alright – in Romanian instead of Hungarian.
You should’ve seen the confused look the vendor gave me as before my request I spoke Hungarian perfectly.
What I really wanted to share with you though is the time we went shopping there. I don’t know what the name of it was, but we went to this humongous shopping center. It had everything one could imagine and I had so much fun picking things off the shelf that were interesting enough to catch my attention and which my mom struggled to put back on the shelves as I walked ahead of her.
In one part of the shopping center there was a huge clown in very brightly colored clothes which was making soap bubbles.
I remember that clown as clear as day.
For some reason, the adults (all five of them!) decided to go check something out a few isles down and I was instructed to stay put for a second and watch the clown.
I quickly agreed, I was mesmerized by the sight. I started playing around, jumping from soap bubble to soap bubble, trying to burst as many as I possibly could.
I was having the time of my life!
But, given that I was only four years old, I also had the attention span of a four year old. After a while of staring at that clown and playing, I decided to go after my family. I’ve seen where they were headed when they left, which isle they turned right on and I headed that way.
Three guesses what happened next?
I actually have no recollection of anything past heading towards where I’ve last seen my family. So I don’t exactly recall the extent of it, but I got lost.
I was told someone working there found me and announced over the microphone that X needed to pick up their kid.
As I was sitting here, typing out this memory, I thought of how something like this can apply to my day to day life right now.
Something I’ve noticed is that there’s not much of a distance between safe and sound.
There’s only a coin toss of a difference between lost and found.
Being left alone happens in a heart beat.
Getting lost is easy.
And I’ve never met anyone who was lost but didn’t want to be found.
The good news is that being found can happen just as quickly and as easily.
And that’s where fear comes in – between lost and found.
The fear we feel while being lost is something that might scare us to no end.
Yet, we fear it even more before taking a chance, before we leap, forgetting to be confident that the net will appear.
I think we just need to remember that feeling of having the time of our life from before we got lost. Then let ourselves feel the fear and leap before we look anyway.
Because as scary as things inevitably are between lost and found, leaping is a risk well worth taking. And that fear is something we’re most likely to forget almost immediately when we’re found.
And so, something else I’ve noticed is more of a realization.
I wasn’t afraid to be by myself back then, between lost and found, four years old, in a shopping center full of strangers.
There’s no reason in the world why it shouldn’t be like that today.