I find my wanderlust kicked into overdrive again. I’ve been spending a lot of time planning vacations that won’t take place for quite some time and dreaming of vacations that are far beyond my reach right now.
I’m sure this has a bit to do with the fact that so many people I know are having grand adventures. One is busy adjusting to life in Bangladesh, another is adjusting to life on the road and my best friend is currently spending time with Mickey Mouse in the most magical place on earth. It’s no surprise that I’m dreaming of far off places and exciting experiences. However, I know myself well enough to know that when I begin to feel this way it has more to do with me than with anything going on with others.
Yesterday as I was looking at yet another travel website I suddenly realized that I’ve been here before, in this place of longing. Sometimes the desire for something new is almost paralyzing because finances, responsibility, location, life in general stands in the way of bringing the desire to fruition. But, as I said, I’ve been here before and I’ve already learned that I am not stuck. I choose this life and the limitations it brings because the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. That doesn’t mean I have to accept the discontent that those sacrifices sometimes bring though. I have choices within my larger choices and it’s up to me to find a way to balance the good and bad in this life I’ve made for myself.
So, the larger choice I’ve made is to live in this rural area so I can be close to my family and have a low cost of living (which allows us to be a one income family so we can homeschool and still have a comfortable life). One of the limitations of that choice is that there are not a lot of opportunities for new experiences and those that do exist usually involve a good deal of planning and time in the car. It’s a good trade-off, at least for me, but it also makes it easy for me to slip into a rut.
Thankfully I’ve learned to recognize a rut before it becomes something larger (like the full blown depression I’ve dealt with in the past). I know myself well enough to know that I don’t just enjoy new experiences, I need them. Revisiting old favorites is fine but I never get the same jolt and awakening from it that I do when I do something I’ve never done before. It really doesn’t matter how near or far from home or how small or large the activity, it’s the novelty of something new that I crave. The question then becomes how to meet this need within my larger choice of living in this remote place.
Shaking Things Up
Shaking things up a bit wasn’t so difficult. I planned a field trip for our homeschool group to a place a couple of hours away that I’ve never been but always wanted to go. I don’t know why I’ve never been, it’s just never worked out but now I have it on the calendar. It’s more than a month away so not a perfect solution. I am, after all, still living within the limitations of that larger choice. But it’s something.
I also started a Facebook fitness group for people in my area. It’s not a new place but it is a new experience and it will help me stimulate my mind as well as my body. I’m also hopeful that seeing all of the ways the other ladies are choosing to work out, stay motivated, etc. will help me keep things new and exciting for myself. Facebook is a necessary component of this plan because when I say “in my area” I mean people who may live nearly an hour from me. The big little town that centrally connects us means we are “local” but we’re still a bit far flung to meet up for workouts three times a week. So, we find other ways to stay connected and support each other. Again, I’ve had to find creative ways to live with the limitations of the larger choice.
Accepting and Embracing the Trade-off
I have to admit that neither of these solutions made me feel 100% better. I still have an ache for adventure. But I accept it and do the best I can. I know that if I were out on an adventure I’d have an ache for my home which is full of pictures, comfortable nooks and crannies, the familiar turn in the road, my parents right next door and mostly the stability and security I know I need as much as I need new adventures. Everything in life is a trade-off and not only do I accept that I embrace it because I think I came out pretty well in the deal. But it would be dishonest of me to say I never daydream about what I’m missing.
Field trips and Facebook do help though.