Spring time is finally here in the Midwest. Today it was 70 degrees and sunny. That could change seeing how just last week we had a foot of heavy, wet snow with overcast skies and biting wind. However, mud puddles and small pools of water are all that remain today. I will take the murky pools and squishy grass even though walking and being outside is still a bit of an inconvenience. Just the whisper of what is to come is enough to keep my hopes of a new beginning alive. I fall for it every time.
At times, it feels as if life is merely a series of highways, bi-ways, country lanes and ruts in the road. Right now, my life seems to be bumping along down a meandering two lane highway in an unknown part of the country. It’s beautiful, exciting, a bit intimidating, and confusing. One wrong turn onto an intersecting, unmarked lane seems to throw me off course and then I have to retrace my steps and figure where I’m going all over again. Occasionally I get sidetracked and at other times I get afraid and begin to lose my faith on this journey of mine. Sometimes I feel like I can’t put my life on cruise control and let the road take me where it will. Instead, I try to arrange my dreams and goals in life in an orderly, linear, precise fashion: trying to dictate to the road how and where it will turn and wind and arrive at the end destination I had in mind.
Like any seasoned traveler, I should know by now that the journey is what matters, not the destination. But, my brain isn’t always wired to think like that. It seems I have to train and retrain myself every couple hundred miles or so. I fall for the false advertisements of an easy life in which I should conform to the societal pressures and assumptions someone my age, my status and my position/role in life dictates. I want to buck the system and find an empty, deserted and inviting road to travel down and explore my dreams, my wishes, my fantasies, and my ideas, but I am afraid sometimes to go down that path alone; and so I exit off the ramp and idle myself until I get brave again. Occasionally, I cave to the external pressures that are out there in our world and let friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers somehow latch onto my dreams and try to tell me what I could or should do to the point that I become confused on what I want to do (or not do). There are times I let my neurotic thoughts and own personal pressures get to me and I even try and talk myself out of what I truly want and need in my life because I don’t fully believe in myself or have been conditioned by past experiences to not trust my own intuition. Those are dark days where traveling the open road seems arduous at best, and impossible at worst.
Then, a day like today comes along and breaks through the cloudless, gray skies and shines a light upon my path and restores my faith in myself and my dreams and desires. That’s when my load becomes a bit easier to carry and I feel like I can keep going on this journey that will deliver me to another crossroads at another time. Wanderlust kicks in, and I pick up my things and go on with my life and follow my path. Call me a fool, but it’s the only way I know how to travel in this world.