"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.