Wanderlust and Fear

It’s springtime, and that means that my wanderlust is out in full force. Not just wanderlust for travelling, but for anything new and different. I’ve suddenly decided that I need some new friends and new piercings and new hangouts and new everything. Everywhere I go people look more interesting and shiny than the people I know and love. Different clothes look like they would make for a better persona than the boring one I have now. I’ve thrown myself into TV shows and books as a way to be someone else for a time, but that won’t hold off the need for change too long.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets these fits of longing. I’m not the only one who sometimes gets bored of my life or myself or my relationships, even though I know that the people and places and things I surround myself with are quality. And yet I rarely hear people talk about it. I think we’re often afraid of saying that we’re not loving the space we’re in unless we’re ready to change the space we’re in, because others generally interpret a complaint or criticism as reason to end a relationship, leave a job, or change yourself.

But it’s a very real experience to both want to stay where you are and feel dissatisfied. Human beings are capable of looking at the long run and seeing that the place we’re in is good for us, even if we feel trapped in the moment. But I’m wondering how to balance my need for new and exciting things with the need for security and the fear of losing the things that I love.

I know that at heart I am a bit of a homebody. I don’t actually like things that are supposedly edgy. I like routine. Many of the new and interesting people I’m staring at are probably peacocking and likely would start to drive me nuts after just a few hours spent together. And yet sometimes I’m bored with myself. I’m bored with my need for schedule and structure. I’m bored by the ways I follow rules. I’m bored by the fact that I’ve lived my whole life in the same place. I’m bored by my lack of rebellious teen phase. So what do I do?

One of the beautiful things about life is that it is not a zero sum game. While we do have a limited amount of time and energy, there is no limit on the number of people we can care about, things that can excite us, or places we can love. The difficult part of this is finding ways to keep up contact with your current habits while also trying out new ones. Especially when we’re talking about people (friends, significant others), it’s hard to let them know that you might need to go AWOL for a bit because you’re feeling a bit claustrophobia with your life.

I’m afraid of losing my friends and past hobbies if I let myself explore a bit. I want to know how to have a conversation that says “I love you, but for this moment I want to try something new. You probably won’t see me for a bit. I’ll be back though, I promise.” I don’t know how to continue to grow and incorporate my past into my future.

There is simply so much to do and so many people to meet and love that at times I think I shouldn’t even bother trying to break out of my patterns. But instead I’m going to try to listen to the part of me that says explore. Perhaps I’ll make a few stupid choices along the way, just for fun (because rule followers like me aren’t too good at this). I’m going to try meeting new people and trying out a new hobby and going somewhere new. Because I can, and because I know that the people I truly want in my life are the ones who are willing to be a bit patient while I gallivant off to be myself for a bit.

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