Tuesday, January 10, 2006


wandering aimfully

"not all who wander are lost."
i just found out recently that this is a j.r.r. tolkien quote - i'm not surprised and it adds a new layer of fantastic possibility to it for me.

my partner is a big fan of the quote and thus it always make me think of him. in particular it makes me think of his approach to life, which is so very different from my own. unlike me, people would not be likely to call him driven, he's not a type a personality, and he doesn't spend a lot of time constructing his plans for the future. in spite of this he has a great life. and over the five years i've known him he has moved slowly but surely towards his goals and dreams.

the quote has always resonated for him. but it wasn't until recently that it began to resonate for me.

a couple of weeks ago i was interviewed for a book, in the email exchange i had with the author in preparation she asked me to sum up what i do. zoinks i thought. i hate that question and i have no idea how to answer it. so i listed out in my head the three or four main things i dedicate my time and energy to...and suddenly it occurred to me, these things which i had continually thought of as some disconnected jumble, the random interests of a wandering woman, had become a recognizable whole.

what i do is coach, mentor, support and advocate for people in their teens and twenties to live big lives, follow their dreams and realize how capable and amazing they are. yup, all of my life does that - from my role as president of the alumni board of a student activist organization to my day job at an organization that does street outreach to homeless youth.

wow. apparently my wandering has not meant that i was lost.

it's been a very interesting and eye-opening discovery that this last couple years of trying things out, opening doors, meeting new people, and aiming to live the questions has in fact led me somewhere.

what's your take on the "not all who wander are lost" concept?

do you consider yourself a wanderer? do you feel lost? have you done any checking in lately to see if those assumptions are correct? or if they mean what you thought they did?

i'm not saying that all wandering is meaningful, as the quote says "not all who wander are lost."
but i think we tend to be harder on ourselves than we are on other people. my wandering partner has always seemed smart and capable to me, whereas i've felt like an uncertain fool. turns out i too was wandering in the right direction and have ended up no where near lost.

what might happen if you saw wandering as something to be proud of? as a sign that you are letting life unfold and following your heart?

as always i'd love to hear your thoughts...post 'em here!

dream big,

Very cool post. A little more than 16 years ago a very good friend of mine gave me a card that read, "Some people have less need to know where they are going than others..." I have always been a wanderer. And I have always given myself a hard time for it. Every now and then we have to remind ourselves, "Some people have less need to know..." Watch for a new link to Let's Dream Big at Orbit Now! my wanderful friend.
As a long time fan of LOTR I recognize the quote and can probably pick out the page in my worn copy of the text.

This thought is parallel to you "can't tell a book by its cover".

Knowledge takes time. Make learning a life long thing and life will be worthwhile!
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