In the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Adventure, Bilbo Baggins is asked by Gandalf to go on an adventure, a very dangerous adventure. Bilbo asks Gandalf if his safe return to his home can be guaranteed.
Gandalf replies honestly- “No, and if you do, you will not be the same.”
2017 has been a year like no other in my life. John and I have experienced great change- the very things we all use to ground ourselves (job, home, and community) have all been altered in some significant way. We sold a house with 32 years of stuff- I still am not sure how we accomplished that feat. We travelled to countries we had never seen, and had some amazing adventures. And then we came home- briefly. We didn’t face a fire breathing dragon like Bilbo, but the Lucifer heat wave this past summer was a force to be reckoned with.
We also didn’t go looking for a treasure, but we were searching for a new direction. Now, after 5 wonderful weeks in New Zealand, we are starting to feel some certainty about what the future might look like. I am very happy that neither of us felt the need to buy a home right away and set down roots and re-nest. Not that owning a home is a bad thing, but walking away from material possessions and living a down-scaled life helped to highlight what really matters most to both of us.
The most significant change for me was internal- I feel more centered than when I left for Europe in July. I worry less, and try more things. Schedules seem less important, unless the boat will leave without me, but, then again, there will be another boat. Changes in the daily plan are just par for the course. I am slowly learning to be more patient with the unknown future.
During October we moved back and forth between Illinois, Michigan, Washington DC and Wisconsin. A few days after Thanksgiving, we were travelling internationally again, headed for New Zealand and some quality time with our middle child. The past 5 weeks have gone by too fast- we kayaked, rode mountain bikes, hiked mountains, swam in the Tasman Sea, and spent numerous nights playing cards and just talking. I am so grateful to have had this precious month with Carrie.
We head back to Michigan, ultimately with new challenges and decisions to be made, and a wedding in June. I had a friend express concern back in November that we must be exhausted from all the moving around, and we were, but in a good sort of way. Standing in the bookstore in LAX, I realized I am still looking forward with hope- I am searching for more books to read, I have made up my 2018 goal sheet, and I am excited to find out what’s around the next corner.