Side Effects of Wanderlust

I’m writing this on the floor of my bedroom in the house where I grew up, trying to grasp which is the home I live in and which one is a dream. My dog, frustrated with her lack of attention, nudged my arm and shook her head indignantly. As she did so, a minute, orange-brown leaf landed on my keyboard. I picked it up by its curled edges, relieved that a leaf is all that it was. We walked through a trail and dunes to the beach today, so I ran my fingers through her fur, inspecting her for more of twilight’s souvenirs. And THAT is what it is like to move along with wanderlust.

It isn’t that I can’t stay in one place for long, or that I am perpetually discontent. I’m driven by a desire to see around the next corner and hang on through the curves.

Although the seasons of my life change quickly, I unpack my winter clothes to find bits of twigs and fallen leaves still clinging to them. There are friends I’ve made along the way who I know are behind me now until forever. Others laugh with me for a spell and vanish as fog into the sun. But every time I leave the woods or beach, Auburn, Mobile, or Nashville, bits of them stick to me like the twig on my clothes and the leaf in my little dog’s fur.

Side effects of wanderlust.

I continue to venture and create and watch my friends’ lives move into marriage and babies, travels, careers, and their own dreams. We wave and congratulate each other from text messages and afar. Every piece of ground we touch expands our worlds and we struggle to understand and redefine what it means to be “home.”

I’ve climbed a few of my mountains, but I’m not done yet. I’ll keep blasting walls, growing up, and making mistakes. I will love my friends and understand letting go. I will plan for the future but live in the moment and blow bitterness away with loyalty, honor, and truth.

Each season and city feels like an old life, and occasionally I steal glances in the looking glass: reels of Auburn football games, flashes of toes in the sand. My little house, brimming with new people and stories I’ll never know. My little window, the light in the bedroom, the secrets it can’t tell. Boys I kiss marry other girls because I fall in love but can’t stay. Curiously, I touch my hand to the wavering glass. But I don’t want to walk through.

A side effect of wander lust.

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