Confessions of a Binge Watcher: LOST – Life Lessons Learned


It’s true. I do have a confession to make. Earlier this summer I sat in a fan convention panel and listened to 5 different actors talk about their experiences on the show, Lost.  I, myself, was a little “lost”. My confession is that while I did watch the show when it aired, I got kind of bogged down in it and never finished the series. You see each episode builds on the next. That was my problem, right there. I missed episodes and even though they were taped, I would have had to sit through 3 or 4 before I could catch up on what was current. DVR space was limited back then, and it was a mess. I tried to watch without catching up and was “lost” again. It was pretty confusing at times.

So after seeing that panel, and so many fans caught up in it still, I decided that I would start from the beginning and binge my way through. Even so, I got stuck somewhere around season 4 and gave myself a break before I finally got back to it.

And now, I’ve just finished it. Tears still damp on my face, along with some confusion, I have to say that the end was much more rewarding that I expected. There were so many flashbacks and flash forwards – sometimes sideways, I wasn’t exactly sure what was real and not. As the conclusion loomed I found that I was still on the edge of my seat and hopeful. What I realized, as each season moved to the next, was that this was way more than a show about survival on a remote island. It dawned on me that it was really about the struggle of life. Here are the some of life lessons I found within Lost.

Bad things happen…

It’s likely not going to be a plane, I hope, but let’s face facts. Bad things happen to each and every one of us. Personally, I lost my mother in a car accident when I was 5 years old. Bad day, bad week, flunking a test, losing a job, bad breakup… its reality. They happen, and when they do, times are hard. Much like John Locke and Jack, they needed to remember and let go. Talk to a friend, or a professional if you need to. Take the time that you need, process, learn – and then move on. Try to find positive and constructive things to keep yourself occupied. There’s something that always needs to be done. Start small and clean your closet or paint your room. This helps you feel like you are making a fresh start. Try your hand at volunteering which helps you focus on others who can really benefit from assistance. Bottom line is that life and time marches on.  People are resilient, and you will be okay.

Searching for significance in the minutiae…

Those numbers!

LOST number

Lotto numbers, hatch numbers, flight numbers, dates, times, jerseys, addresses…. We saw these specific numbers over and over peppered throughout the series, some obvious, some more subliminal. While there has been much study and supposition given to the meaning of these numbers and infinite combinations thereof, the bottom line is this. Some people believe in signs, some people don’t. I personally believe that a bit of serendipity goes a long way in elevating one’s well-being. Often though, we end up seeing those signs merely because we are looking for them. My thought is that a positive outlook does good things for the soul. Keep on the lookout and expect those good things, then be ready for them to find you. This is hard sometimes (see item 1).

The Struggle of Good and Evil

Jacob and he who had no name… literally. He was the man in the black shirt, the smoke monster or even “it”, evil incarnate. What was the significance of the white and black stones exactly?

Lost stones

Was it a chess match they played with people? Were they God and the Devil? That just really wasn’t addressed adequately for me, but they were certainly significant. It was certainly an old school good vs evil — the struggle to find the good in ourselves and other people. For me and others, this translates into finding your faith in God. It’s not as easy reading people sometimes. We are tossed in with strangers and it can be hard to figure out people’s motives. We have to trust, and go with our gut until facts prove us right or wrong. And, hope that there’s no figurative smoke monster undermining you in your world!

 Finding your purpose

From the Oceanic flight came a number of candidates, those Jacob chose to potentially succeed him as caretaker of the Island after he was gone. As we saw through the countless flashbacks, these candidates were not super heroes. They were flawed, feeling like they were the least right for any role of significance. Ironically though, each of these people took a turn at leadership during different junctures in the series. Similarly, we all struggle with the same thing. What role do we play, where is expected of us, how are we perceived by people? It is easy to get bogged down in that and wondering how we measure up to other’s expectations. Jack ultimately realized his calling and his role, and once he decided that he could not be swayed from his path. Reality is this is not quite so clear cut. I say find something that fulfills you. You will feel the most gratified when you put your best self forward each and every day. The right people and relationships will respond to you and seek you out.

 Measure your life in relationships, not accomplishments

Unlike the Lost gang, we are usually not always working to succeed in a life and death struggle to get off an island. However, most of us do put in a lot of time and energy into our work and career and struggling to get ahead. Unfortunately, this can also come at a sacrifice to our home life and personal relationships. There was a reason why there were so many tricky family relationships depicted in the show: sons seeking approval from fathers, children not knowing their parents, families being separated. We too struggle to find that balance between work and home. The takeaway from this is that work will always be there, but there are times that come by once in a lifetime. Dance recitals, talent shows, and sports competitions happen once and done. And, things can change in an instant. Spend meaningful time with your family and friends, and make these times count. Through the last few episodes, there were sweet moments shown as each person realized their connections to the other. These were hugs and smiles and kisses – nothing unusual but just what binds us and brings us closer.

lost church

I get so attached to these characters that I am always sad when I finish a series. It’s almost like a loss. Sometimes they just end, no thoughts or philosophizing. Then, there are those that make you think about life and living it to the fullest. I was certainly glad that I made the investment in this one.

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