Put in a pin anywhere in a map of the world, and I would want to go there. Even to places I’ve travelled to before. Even to a spot just down the road from my house. I’m a naturally curious type. Some people might call me nosy. I could sit in a cafe for hours and watch the world go by, making up stories about the people I watched from afar. I want to know everything. Taste everything and see everything. My mind constantly races to the next place, experience, adventure.
But it hasn’t always been this way. I’m making up for lost time.
Here’s my truth. When I was younger and had the whole of my twenties stretched out ahead of me, I never once considered seeing the world. My life was a constant race – get the degree, get the job, get the promotion, buy a house, get married. It was a map of a different kind, a map full of straight lines, and tick lists and responsibility and things.
It was never a map of the world.
I saw places. I lounged in the Caribbean sun on my honeymoon, luxuriating in my own success. Earning my two weeks of paradise, congratulating myself on a job well done. I picked the best hotels, the ones that would prove I’d climbed my way up that straight line I’d worked so hard for. I took pictures of myself next to the things that you should take pictures of yourself next to and posted them on Facebook so everyone else would know I’d climbed that path too.
The expected path. The only path.
I can remember exactly the point that the path no longer felt like mine to follow. I was overcome by a feeling that there was something else I needed. A part of my soul that lay dormant, empty. Waiting to be accessed. I’d worked and worked and worked myself into the ground, that well trodden path treading on me now and something in me snapped.
Enough. I want more.
Or rather, I wanted less. The irony was that actually all the work and the house and things and the achievements were too much for me all at once. All I wanted to do was to run away.Are you racing forward, grabbing every travel opportunity? Are you making up for lost time?Click To Tweet
I’ve spent the past two years running away.
Only this time, it’s felt like running to an old friend. To the part of the map I was always supposed to be on. Like putting on your favourite jumper in autumn it just fit. It felt right and warm and fulfilling. I had so much time to make up for.
My heart has spent two years beating hard out of my chest, desperately trying to hang on to time and to try and fit it all in. 18 years of experiences as quickly as possible, every spare weekend ready to be filled with endless possibility.
As the year closes in I’m more desperate now. I’m like a bucket with a slow leak, I constantly need to be refilled. Each trip making me hungrier for the next.
No one could accuse me of wasting time now. But I’m running out of road.
Life changes. We grow and bend and mould to our circumstances. My mid-thirties are falling through my hands and I can’t catch them and hold on, if only for a moment. They say time waits for no man and I feel that keenly each day. My heart still beats out of my chest but this time with panic, not joy. Like a child who doesn’t want to go to sleep, but someone is about to turn my light out.
After 24 months of unbridled happiness and excitement and a life well lived, something has to change again, but this time I don’t want it to. It doesn’t mean the end, but it does mean something new. I like my life now. What if I don’t like it in the future? I’m not ready to bend to something, someone else yet. I need more time for just me.
I’ve run out of road. The edge of the map is near. Times change. People change. Life changes.
My world will change. I wish I hadn’t lost all that time.