Terribly Lost and Terrifically Found

Courtyard in New Orleans

Main Entry: ter·ri·ble Pronunciation: \ˈter-ə-bəl, ˈte-rə-\ Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin terribilis, from terrēre to frighten — more at terror Date: 15th century 1 a: exciting extreme alarm or intense fear : terrifying b: formidable in nature : awesome c: difficult 2: extreme , great 3: extremely bad: as a: strongly repulsive : obnoxious b: notably unattractive or objectionable c: of very poor quality — ter·ri·ble·ness noun — ter·ri·bly -blē\ adverb

Main Entry: ter·rif·ic Pronunciation: \tə-ˈri-fik\ Function: adjective Etymology: Latin terrificus, from terrēre to frighten Date: 1667 1 a: very bad : frightful b: exciting or fit to excite fear or awe 2: extraordinary 3: unusually fine : magnificent — ter·rif·i·cal·ly -fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

There is a phrase I’ve been saying: “Every day in New Orleans, I’ve gotten terribly lost and terrifically found.”

On the surface, this is in response to how I’m fairing at getting around, making my way around the city, going from point A to point B. Most people tell me that New Orleans is complicated to get around, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it pretty easy.

“The river is on one side, the lake is on the other. You can’t go wrong with Canal Street because it runs all the way across. If you see a street car, you know you’re on Canal, Carrollton or St. Charles.”

At the same time, most streets are one-way and twisty-turny. I’ve rerouted myself in google maps A LOT trying to get from one point to another. Google maps are not the best around here, either the City of New Orleans has changed street names, or someone from Google mapped the city in the middle of a drinking-binge on Bourbon Street because they have been wrong here more than any other U.S. city I’ve ever been to. I have a car, a bike, and good ole walking and after 10 days, I’ve come to this conclusion:

“Every day I get terribly lost and terrifically found.”

Every day, I will turn a corner, go one block too far in a direction, get to an intersection and have that magical “AHA MOMENT.”

At the same time, man have I gotten turned around. I was in the Marigny going “huh?” On Tchoupitoulas SEARCHING for Magazine as a cross-street (yeah they run parallel thanks). Trying to get to the Rebuild Center and wanting to cross the freeway and not only not being able to get there but getting stuck by the Times-Picayune building three times.

Knowing my way around in as many cities as possible is worth its weight in gold. I’ve got quite a few under my belt. But moreover, what’s a better reference point for life than having to figure your way around a new city?

Every time I get lost, I could go, “God, I’m so STUPID, how could this happen again.” Or I could pull over, take stock of my surroundings, re-acclimate myself and take off again. Being lost and being found are constantly crossing each other every day.

Which is why I had to laugh when I looked up the origin of “terrible” and “terrific” and saw that they both come from the Latin root “terrēre to frighten.”

The way we feel about our lives, the journey we’re on, the emotions we go through daily to get us from one place to the next, they change moment to moment. How often could a moment of joy or excitement easily switch places with a moment of loss or confusion? We live much of each day from a place of emotion. _This is human nature. We feel. We express. _**We wake up and live each day and try to put the dots together in a line that will make our dreams a reality, our acquaintances - friends, our jobs - careers. Every day we’re making a life for ourselves. **

It’s a strange sensation to be so constantly alert but this is what happens in a new environment. Every time I step out the door, I’m “on.” I don’t want to miss a valuable lesson that’s waiting for me! I’m a student of New Orleans and she’s showing me around but like a true teacher, making me figure most of it out for myself and not giving out all of the answers at once.

I don’t know the city like the back of my hand. Yet. But I do know a hell of a lot more than I did two weeks ago. I’ll know even more two weeks from now. So next time I’m at a loss for which way to go, I just have to stop. Take a breathe. Use my surroundings and my gut instincts to make a decision. The worst thing that happens is I have to turn around and start over. Certainly there are worse things than having to retrace your steps in New Orleans or in the journey within your own life.

We learn a little bit each day. Some days more than others. One of these days when you’re feeling up for the challenge, go out and get terribly lost and terrifically found yourself. In a city you’ve lived in all your life, or a place brand new.

I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

Read more ...

Kiss and Make Up
Women's Philanthropy Institute's Newest Council Member!
My Women’s Equality Party Vote Is Dedicated To…
Road To 50
You're Invited! ASPCA Young Friends Benefit
... and more posts from the archives