Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Road Goes Ever On and On...

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say!"
J.R.R.Tolkien "The Fellowship of the Ring" *

I have been thinking about that song/poem a lot recently.  As I head into another birthday... another year older, hopefully a little wiser, I can't help but wonder where the road ahead must now lead.

I have never set foot on that road, not really. I decided very early in life that what I wanted most was family, security, and peace. The road was not something that interested me then. At the time a different line from Tolkien – also from "The Fellowship of the Ring" – held more sway with me. 

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.**

I have written about my shyness and introversion already and both of these contributed to my decision to seek peace and family life over adventure and excitement. Meeting the woman to whom I was to be married so early in life had a great deal to do with the decision too. Add to that the fact that I was raised in, as near as I could tell, what most now consider a well adjusted, "normal" home. What seemed normal to me was home and family so naturally I looked to duplicate this for myself when I became an adult.

Now though, with far more of my life behind me than in front, I find the road calling to me. The desire to pursue with eager feet is beginning to outweigh the fear and weariness, the complacency and inertia of a too long peaceful and comfortable life. Originally I shrugged this off as the beginnings of a mid-life crisis but since I have no earthly hope of surviving into my late 90's this can't possibly be anything to do with mid-life. I have no desire for a sports car, I am not romantically interested in 20 something women (or 30 something women for that matter). I am not dissatisfied with my life to this point. I am, in fact, quite proud of where I am in life. I have helped raise three kids to adulthood without making them completely spoiled brats or addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have a job I enjoy, my family is healthy, and we have a comfortable home. This is everything one should need to be happy and content.

So why then am I not? Please do not misunderstand me I am not discontent. I am not unhappy. I would just not use happy or content to describe myself right now. I have to believe at this point that it has to be the call of the road not taken. Being a metaphorical road, I am left trying to discover that which is missing with no real direction to look.

In a future post I am sure I will go into some detail about the problem I have knowing myself. This will certainly make my search for happiness somewhat more difficult but in the process, perhaps, I can solve two problems with one quest, finding a way to understand what I want and then being able to be happy with it. That sounds like a road worth following doesn't it?

So I start on the road, "down from the door where it first began:" an adventure of self-discovery and fulfillment.  I wonder where I will be swept off to?

* The Road Goes Ever On and On


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