When I Ruled the World

I pride myself on having few regrets or resentments in life. Every single thing that has ever happened to each of us makes us who we are today. If you’re truly happy with that person, then every struggle and every joy was well worth it. And I am mostly happy with who I am.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t miss a few opportunities I once had.

When I was a kid, I pretty much ruled my world. Everything was there for me to see, and there seemed to be few limits! I’m not saying everything was handed to me—quite the contrary.  It’s more that I was sort of thrown to the world with a “Here it is! Go get it! (Or don’t, but that’s up to you.)” Maybe it was the timing of being the youngest for 12 years, but I seemed to have gotten a bigger dose of that than my siblings.

That attitude is how I ended up 1200 miles away from my hometown. It’s why I’m at ease in New York City or hiking up the side of a (small) mountain. But no, I’m not a big risk-taker, and we took very few vacations growing up. It’s just that life always felt like an adventure of some sort.

But adult life takes away something. It partially blocks our access to dreams, change, and straying from some seemingly prescribed path.  I still want the world to be mine—to explore and document with photos, stories, and memories. This longing is why I’m mentally suffering at a good, stable job—because it holds me back from life’s adventure, while not taking advantage of my passions and talents. It’s almost insufferable without any real suffering. I’m thankful, but I still yearn.

It’s possible this yearning is part of some “gypsy gene” inherited from my father. What I’ll always remember most about him is that he seemed to suffer inside, longing for some unmentioned adventure or change. He never expressed the root of his inner torment, but he surely let us know it was there. (We never lived in any house for very long, and he seemed to change jobs a lot—not usually his choice though.)  I certainly relate to that part of him now, though I express it very differently. (I don’t use beer to cope, and I don’t keep my mouth shut either. Maybe I got that from my mother!)

That next adventure is still coming—even if it’s harder to reach with each passing day. I have to believe. I still have to rule my world.

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