Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

"Not All Who Wander are Lost"
Mixed Media by Kelli Thomas

"Not all who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien wrote those words in The Fellowship of the Ring. I have never read the book but those six words have made a profound impact on my life.

As a child, I moved a lot. Before I even started elementary school I had lived in four or five different towns. The moves continued throughout my life. My elementary years were spent in a small town in southwestern Oklahoma. My middle school years were in a small town in northwestern Oklahoma. High school was in a small town in central Oklahoma. After graduating from high school, I never spent more than a few years in any one place. Now, I am almost 48 years old and have moved more than 40 times in my life. The funny thing is, all I ever longed for was a home...a real home. A place to set down roots, create memories. Or so I thought. 

Last night it occurred to me that maybe the reason I have moved so often is that deep down, a home isn't what I really want. Maybe this restlessness inside of me isn't about finding home, it's about the deep need to wander, explore, discover, and create.

My whole life I have been different from those around me. I frustrate the hell out of my family because I could never seem to settle in to my life. Nothing seemed to work out no matter how hard I tried. I would call my family in tears, confused as to why everything was such a mess, begging for answers to what I was doing wrong. Why did everything always work out this way? What was wrong with me?

I know nothing is wrong with me, I just don't follow the same path as everyone else. But I tried...for years I tried. It never felt right. There was this underlying anxiousness and feeling that "nope, this isn't it either." My friends and family would just roll their eyes and shake their heads. I couldn't help it. I was still searching for the right fit. But nothing ever did fit. I was always looking for something else. Not necessarily something better, just something else. 

For years I thought I wanted to be married, have a beautiful home, and create lasting memories with my children and husband. I would cook scrumptious meals and plant a garden. We would have family vacations and spend the holidays together. I was married. For about ten years. Then I had another relationship that last about six years. Other than that, I have been on my own. For the longest time I thought I wanted the whole marriage thing again. It got lonely at night. I wanted an adult to talk to, share things with. Now I'm not so sure. 

I realized last night that what I really want is freedom. Freedom to travel, create, write, and to just simply breathe and take in the beauty of our world. I don't want to be tied down to a home where I have to mow the lawn and fix the faucet. I want to be able to just pick up and go and not have to worry about who is going to water the flowers or mow the lawn. I want to be able to grab my camera and my paints and brushes and capture moments that inspire me. I want to finally write all the books that are in my head. I want to wander.

There is a quiet that I crave. The loud silence of nature is what feeds my soul. It is when I am wandering that I am at peace. 

I am finally at a place in my life where I can finally allow my wandering spirit to be freed. My family will still think I am crazy, but that's fine. I will finally be happy, truly happy.

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