July 13, 2016 § 2 Comments
I’ve spent my days roaming the country. In 58 years, I’ve lived in 7 states and 8 different cities. My friend John once joked that my family has moved more frequently than people in the witness protection program. I’ve left behind a host of friends and family, and have become disconnected from many of the everyday sights and sounds that were mainstays of places where I once lived. Over the years, I’ve become a master of letting go of one place and moving on to another. I’ve also learned some things along the way.
I’ve learned that whenever life circumstances change, it’s important to get back to your center, figure out who you are in that moment, and simply extend a welcoming hand to the new and unknown. To be honest, I’ve not liked much of it. I always found that it took a lot out of me to start over. But there was always an excitement that came along with all the challenges; a sense of learning something new, of figuring out new places, and of entering into a mysterious void that other people called home. Sometimes the void became my home as well, but at other times it remained a void up until the day I left. Even in the void, however, my life was never dull. There was always the exhilaration of knowing that I might move on, followed by the inevitable hunt for the next place. I imagine it must be similar to the excitement of parachuting out of an airplane, scanning the panorama below and knowing you will land somewhere—even if you don’t know where. I’ve always felt as if I were dangling in the air. Much like a parachutist who has just free-fallen from the safety of his plane, I tried to steer myself toward the right place each time; even when something told me that the winds were more powerful than I was… and that I would ultimately land wherever I needed to.
But even after all these years, I still don’t understand change—and I’ve long decided to accept it. The life of a virtual vagabond has always left me relegated to saying, “that’s just the way it is.” I’ve had an ongoing tendency to stay, but at the same time, a willingness to leave. I eventually decided to move each time I was pointed that way; accommodating my soul to the change because I knew I could always move on once more. I found freedom in that thought, and serenity in the possibility.
Being a vagabond has made for loneliness and friendship, for losing and gaining, for tears and sleepless nights, for wonderful things I would never have imagined, and for experiences I wish I’d never had. It’s been a mixture of all things; of dark and light reimagined on different stages, and in different climates. My life isn’t much different from anyone else’s, except that mine has been lived within shifting scaffolds; always twisting in a different wind.
This is the way that my life has gone, and as I get older I sometimes wonder what might have materialized if I had stayed in one place or another. What would have happened if I had simply taken off my walking shoes, put my feet on the coffee table—and stayed? That is something I will never know.
But that thought never stays with me for long. Because something at the core of my being tells me that this vagabond life, with all of its twists, turns, surprises, and uncertainty, is precisely the one I was meant to live.