There are so many things to count, so many adventures had. There have been mornings waking up on Hawaiian beaches with only waves and seabirds. There have been gardens planted with asparagus and tomatoes and arugula to spare. There have been motorcycles and bicycles and businesses and houses. And let’s not forget sailing, hiking, flying, surfing, sprinting, leaping. But don’t be mistaken friends, things and adventures are just that. Things and adventures.
A podcast came my way the other evening as I revived chicken leftovers for dinner. A pair of millenials discussed the myth of wanderlust, the false idea that travel or living abroad or packing your life in a backpack and trekking around the world, will ultimately lead you to finding your life’s purpose. I completely agree with them, no amount of backpacking will solve your life’s problems. Because that would indicate that someday, somehow, we could possibly get our figurative shit together. Sigh. I don’t know about you, but together my shit is not.
When the homemade sausages have all been eaten, we can make some more. When the pilgrimage comes to an end on a hot summer evening, we can plan to go back to Spain and do it again. When the car is on its last leg and the money has all run out, we can stay in one place and get jobs and save up. When you’ve left all your friends and your pets and your comforts in search of adventure, you can start a new life, and then leave that one, too. Some of us roam, wander, seek, seek, seek. Some of us put our heads down and achieve, achieve, achieve. Some of us stay curled tightly in a ball, waiting it all out. But in the end, we’re all doing the same thing. That thing is called living. And it doesn’t end until we’re dead. I think.
What do you want to do? Do that thing. But don’t expect to have it all solved, to be able to rest, to come to a place of, “oh now I get it.” There is no formula. There is no magic wand. I have traveled yes, I have run away, too. I have accomplished many, many “if only’s…” at the end of which there is never a rainbow, just another wish. At the end of the journeys and the road trips and the pilgrimages, I have found myself back living life just like you and Joe and Angie and everyone else. Life is unexpected and unforgiving and difficult. Nothing we can do will stop the clock from ticking or make being a human any less hard. We don’t get to sit back on our laurels and polish an award. But we do get to press on, to be better, to do more. At least for now, we get to live.
Run and run. Sit and sit. You are you even at the top of Haleakala or laying at home on the couch. And you are worthy and capable and deserving. Life happens to us whether we run away or hide. So don’t believe for a tiny second that you can do anything to mess it up. It’s in the messing up that life gets really beautiful.
I want you to not be afraid. I want you to not be ashamed. I want you to do what you do and trust that you are right where you need to be. Let’s look at today, this day right here. There’s two feet of snow outside the front door, and the sun is shining. It’s a perfect day for (careful) sledding and hot chocolates and for laughing at the dog leaping through the drifts. Let’s do what feels good today and let time pass the way it does, whether we have a tight grip on it or not.