Wanderlust for Life

Living life as a traveller is the dream of many. I too sometimes flirted with the idea of never being rooted to the spot, or to a specific place. Being able to move freely without restraint sounds so liberating. Free spirited madness and a condescending view of the drudgery that others call life. All such romantic notions.

But then the cynicism taps on my shoulder and hands me a tether. That tether connects me to something greater than the sum of my life’s efforts. It connects me to the possibility of serving a greater purpose, in exchange for surrendering my personal gains. At first, I hesitate. There must be a catch. Why would I want to willingly give up self-indulgence in favour of resposibility? In favour of expectations, and weighty duties? What could possibly deter me from the freedom of expression and movement that selfish investment offers?

But that tether was not left dangling for long. Eventually the cynic behind me got tired of holding the tether waiting for me to take it, and instead wrapped it around my neck and left. My lifelong friend had abandoned me because it too did not wish to be tethered to me. There I was, cynicism long gone, and all I had was a view of the world from the ditch in which I fell while choking on that tether. And suddenly my freedom from others threatened my life, rather than enriched it.

Suddenly I had a need for someone else to abandon their freedom so that they could save mine, and I realised that there was a deep hypocrisy in the expectation that suddenly surged within me. As I flitted through my years believing that I was above restraint of expression, or seeing responsibility as a boring abuse of the wonderment of life, I didn’t stop to consider how many I abandoned along the way as they lay in their ditches looking for a momentary indulgence from another so that they may find the means to breathe again.

Then it appeared in full frame. If everyone in this world were travellers, who would be the lighthouses? This was followed by a sad realisation that lighthouses are rarely the destination for travellers. They only serve as beacons of hope along the journey so that the travellers can reach their destination, with nothing more than a photo opportunity with the lighthouse.

The wanderlust for life, for being able to travel and explore and experience without feeling held back, is an indulgence of the ego until the ego gets lonely. It is only in that lonely state that the value of attachment is considered to be beautiful, or the expectations of others creates purpose. But everything in moderation, because blessings become a burden and burdens a blessing, if dealt in just the right doses at just the right opportune moments.

Such alignment of doses and needs rarely occurs. It is the grateful perspective of the whole of it that allows us to benefit from the precious little of it. And in that way, in some strange twist of fate and fortune, cryptic rhymes and distorted perspectives can meld into a beautiful life, if only we are awake to the reality of it all.

[Random thoughts strung together sometimes emerge as a coherent string of wisdom pearls. But only sometimes…this is not one of those times.]

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