Yesterday, I met the person I want to be when I grow up.
Travelers and nine-to-fivers both, you make me feel guilty.
To the travelers, I am too stable. I own a car, have Netflix, don’t work a miserable job that pays through the roof. I have a lease and insurance and own a few pieces of furniture. It is difficult for me to drop everything in a heartbeat and leave for months at a time.
To the the more traditional, I am too reckless. I have no desire to own my own business or own a house. I’d rather spend money on plane tickets than a bigger apartment, on weekend getaways to another state than an all-inclusive resort.
But yesterday, I met the one that falls halfway between the two worlds. She works a high-paying job that she really likes. She travels all over the globe 2-3 weeks out of the year and takes weekend getaways. And she’s planning her life so that she can retire young and spend her fifties and beyond exploring.
I want to be like her. I want to see the world on my terms, and not because it’s a methodology someone else decided was the “right” way to do things.
And in the meantime, my soul is getting awfully tired of meeting travelers.
I love them. When we meet, my heart leaps with the instant bond of the road. We become friends within minutes, kindred spirits within hours. You’re the ones I call and say, “I’m leaving in an hour, do you want to come?” You’re the ones who draw people to yourselves, and when we all meet in some strange room we dance and sing and love. You’re a part of something bigger, and I feel as though my world expands every time we speak.
And just like that, you’re gone.
You’re a spark. A flame. You burn brightly and beautifully and you make life so much more colorful. And then you’re gone.
“It’s just a new couch to stay on!” you reassure me.
I have many couches.
“It’s an excuse to go to another city/state/country!” you remind me.
I need no excuse.
“I can’t stay here,” you sigh.
I know you can’t. I know I can’t keep you. I know the same feeling of being trapped, drowning in the sea of tradition and regulation and normalcy. I know the itch of needing to find something new, go somewhere different, do something strange. I know the agony of when a groove becomes a rut. I know the joy of the new, the delight of the change, the thrill of the chase.
But the constant fluctuation is wearing. When I stay still and you all spin around me, a kaleidoscope of conversations and adventures and traditions. And then I lose you. And my world loses just a little bit of color.
I wonder if it’s worth it.
Is it worth it to fight to find you, to enjoy the hours and days? Is it worth it to enrich each others lives, only to break apart again? Is the pain worth it?
And once again, I’m trapped in the middle. As a traveler, the answer is always yes. For a normal, functioning member of society, the answer is not so simple. I’m constantly seeking out new connections and new friends, and constantly having my heart broken as they leave to continue out in the great wide world.
Worth is a deep, personal question.
Is it worth it?