“Not all those who wander are lost.”
Perhaps trite at this point, branded across mugs and greeting cards and inspirational posters and the like, and yet, this message never fails to resonate. And every now and again I find it important to remind myself why.
I have never found comfort in the seemingly similar cliches that “you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” or that “everything happens for a reason.” Far too cynical, am I, to simply accept that all is out of my hands, that some greater force or being is controlling it all for me (or, perhaps, too independent). It would be so nice to believe it, that whatever I have done or have yet to do is all part of an elaborate plan that is already set, meant to be. Which is why I take such comfort in Tolkien’s alternative, in that it allows me to retain my self-determination in the midst of being (for lack of a better descriptor) effing clueless.
I do not have the answers (hell, maybe my life is predetermined despite my firm belief it isn’t!). I do not know where I am going. I am not even sure where I want to go (hence, the non-definition of where I am going). I feel overwhelmed by the non-answers, the what-ifs, the maybes, the endless possibilities both desirable and not stretching as far as I can see on the daunting horizon of my future. I enjoy where I have been both in the world and within myself, and appreciate where I am now in terms of personal growth, but I know I am not done.
I am wandering. There is no clear-cut path before me, no matter how much I desire one to appear. But there’s the freedom! There’s the adventure! I am not lost. I have priceless clues and treasures I have picked up and taken with me since my journey’s begun; I have, little by little, learned to navigate by certain stars and landmarks painstakingly explored in the time I’ve spent traveling this life thus far; with every shift in landscape, in the company I keep and run into, in the direction I choose to take, I grow stronger and more confident in my role as a seeker, a searcher. As a wanderer.
Sometimes I may feel lost. But that is part and parcel of this wandering business, and why I need to remind myself: I am not lost. I am discovering my own path, one step at a time. And that, more than any assurances of destiny or fate, is a comfort to me.