I can measure my adult life in taped cardboard boxes and crumpled plane tickets.
But truth be told, I still don’t have any idea where I will end up. I have family on one coast, friends that feel like family on the other, attended college in one state, lived on a different continent, and I continually feel a keen curiosity and yearning for states and countries I’ve never even visited.
As they are reading this, everyone who knows me (sorry, Mom) is already getting anxiety that I’m going to haul off in the middle of the night and move to Borneo or something. I’m not. I couldn’t even point to Borneo on a map.
And as much as I want to know where I will eventually settle down to raise a family, it terrifies me. I am terrified of making a decision I cannot undo or wasting time because I am comfortable. I am terrified that I will miss out on where I am supposed to be. But I am equally petrified that our “wanderlust” generation will continually navigate my decisions with an innate niggling fear that the grass is always greener somewhere else. When it isn’t. Obviously.
But doesn’t it seem like everyone is always off having some sort of Eat, Pray, Love adventure while you’re stuck in a cubicle being responsible? (Thank you, Instagram, and #LatergramsFrom6MonthsAgo) And I don’t even work in a cubicle. And let’s be honest, I’m rarely responsible. I had Cheeze-Its and coffee for breakfast this morning.
Leaving one group of people I love for another, living in a state that turns me into a traffic-hating sadist (but has really nice beaches), being socially bored in rural areas while still wishing for open space… how do you find the balance? How do you ever really know or stop feeling like a ping-pong ball? Is there a way to get everything? Or will you always have to give a little on something? And if so, how do you know which things you can let go of and which are the priorities? Because if we are honest, I think we all want our own piece of home.
Welcome to my somewhat-schizophrenic inner-dialogue.
But I know that I’m not the only person who has yearned for home while being confused as to where that actually is. I know that I cannot be the only one who has packed up her things and moved across the country, away from family and familiarity. I know that I am not the only 20-something who has wished they could do away with responsibility and reality and travel the world, getting their fill before “settling” down…while simultaneously wanting the husband, the house, and the steady job and paycheck.
Maybe it’s the need to feel as if you’ve walked down every possible road so that you can know with clarity what direction to forge ahead.
Perhaps our generation is using travel as a means to put off commitment and responsibility. Perhaps we have been leaving the door open, just a crack, in case life gets hard and our plans don’t play out as we hoped. There’s nothing wrong with having an escape route, right?
Yes and no.
It’s a good to be driven. To dream big and explore. That’s how we discover what we really want in life. But don’t let restlessness drive you to miss the here and now. To miss what you are meant to get out of this time and place, out of this season in life. Are you ever really in a room if you always have one foot holding the door open? Don’t let the picture of how you thought your life would look compel you to give up on the goodness in front of you. And for heaven’s sake, don’t retreat from a situation just because it gets uncomfortable. That’s not our cue to slip out the back. Take it from me…you’ll just end up learning the same lesson in a different city.
You cannot run away from God and how He is shaping you by trying to flee your circumstances.
Don’t get me wrong, traveling is necessary. It teaches us about ourselves and opens us to a world outside of what is familiar. Moving somewhere new roundhouse kicks us out of our comfort zones. That being said, I wonder if sometimes we (read: I) use traveling and being a “free spirit” as a vehicle for avoidance. If you’re constantly moving you will always be constantly distracted.
Traveling is not bad. It is my favorite thing. I wish I could spend my life just traveling from place to place… because then I would probably have enough money that I wouldn’t have to work and my life could just consist of seeing really awesome sights and meeting new people. And I would never ever have to commit to anything ever if I didn’t want to. It’s numbing and enjoyable escapism at its finest. Just keep moving and you won’t have to feel. Just keep moving and you won’t have to have any answers to the questions that keep following you.
What we don’t want to admit is that eventually “traveling” becomes running away.
I used to think that the most adult thing I could do was to travel alone and be self-sufficient. To move away and forge my own path (over and over again). But I’m finding that sometimes the scariest, most adult thing I can do is to decide to stay. To try. To take the cup that is being handed to me and drink of it until, and only if, GOD tells me it is time to move on…not my A.D.D. or wanderlust. Not my discomfort or uncertainty. I’m tired of aimlessly moving without God’s direction.
As I mentioned before, there is a kind of illness that runs through most 20 and 30-somethings. It whispers to us that it’s not okay to settle down, to stay in one place. But it is. You will find those people, those places that you will return to always. You will find a relationship that roots you in reality and what is good about the here and now. And when you do, don’t run from it. Don’t be afraid to dig your heels in and fight for the possibility of home.
God rarely reveals the whole picture. I wish that I knew what state I would be residing in five years from now or what my life will look like. But I don’t. And I’m beginning to learn that I am not supposed to. If I knew the end result, there would be no place for learning, waiting, growing, being stretched, or even the joy of being surprised by God and life. There would be no point to being present in where I am NOW. There would be no opportunity to be developed by my current circumstances.
Because at the end of the day the real question isn’t, “where am I going?” but, “do I trust God to get me to where I need to be?” I’m so used to looking out the window, seeing something I think I want, and then running ahead to the next season. But in this portion of my adult life, God has drawn the blinds on those windows. I don’t get to see. I don’t get to know.
But I do get to stay.