If You Love Me, Leave Me Wild

I moved across the country five different times in the last 10 years.

I never intended on living the nomad life, although somehow it suits me. And I certainly never had the aspiration or plan to be a vagabond who set out to “find themselves,” although somewhere along the way I did.

I have been on more cross-country road trips across the western United States during the last decade than I can even remember, sometimes with my two-horse bumper-pull trailer in tow. Always with a vehicle packed to the brim, never any extra space, and I mean that on both a physical and emotional level.

I have had the pleasure of driving through and exploring some of the most beautifully breathtaking places. I have had many grand adventures with great people. And I have had many experiences that were just a little bit too “real,” but that makes for good stories now.

I feel blessed to have a lifetime of stories inside me at the age of 27.

But most importantly, I am sometimes overwhelmed at the biggest blessing of all these moves: The family I have created in each place. People who usually were not the ones I expected to bond with, but who snuck up on my life and planted themselves in my heart. People who made me laugh, watched me cry, and celebrated the small everyday kinds of victories.

People who became my people. Family I didn’t know I needed but who appeared when I most needed them.

I guess at one point I was scared to move to new places alone. But that is the thing about change—it gets less scary the more you do it. I am not fearless, but I do fear LESS these days. I used to have more moments of homesickness and loneliness; now I cherish the freedom in being alone.

I have learned the meaning of one of my dad’s catchphrases, “There’s good living everywhere if you look for it.” I have learned that there are always more than enough people waiting to welcome you than you could imagine, often in the most unlikely and unexpected situations. I have learned that the net always appears. That’s just how the Universe works. You will always be right where you are supposed to be. Big life changes strengthen your faith in ways you did not know possible.

I hate to be too opinionated because I don’t claim to know enough about you or your life to make judgments or offer advice. But on this topic, I guess I believe that you SHOULD move around. Especially while you still can. Don’t be in such a rush to tether yourself to one place. It is possible to lay down roots that are not physically binding.

There is so much to see and experience. Have the adventures while you can. Make lots of family. Watch your world expand with opportunities, possibilities, and LOVE.

I’m happy where I have ended up at the moment, but I am cautious to throw in the hat and declare myself forever stationary. If it is any indication, let’s just say I haven’t traded in my license plates yet.

As I reflect on the last decade, I am most proud of my faith that has strengthened through necessity and the leaps I have taken even when I could not see this overglorified net. These cross-country moves have shaped me. They have taught me that I really can make anything work. And mostly, they have shown me how many beautiful people are out there just waiting to be met.

And what a comfort it is to have created a diverse family all over the country. And how fun it is to watch your families from all these places merge into one.

So I urge you, don’t be scared to make the changes or have the adventures. Bring your loved ones along and be open to all those new loved ones waiting to be discovered on this beautiful journey.

Don’t get so busy building a career or a job history and planting roots that you forget to create your life resume and widespread family. Perhaps this is part of the reason that loneliness is one of America’s biggest epidemics these days. They have forgotten about the love that is always around them.

So as for me, you can find me wandering, playing Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” as my theme song. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean I won’t settle down, get married, have a family. It simply means that I’ll be living an expanded life, one without limits. One in which I choose to fear less each day. Because I know in my heart, that no matter what, I will always be led to the places I am meant to be and the people I am meant to love. The path and the journey may not be linear, but it will always be exact.

Here’s my request: Love me. Leave me wild.

I hope you consider the same.

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