I’ve blogged before, but not for a year, I don’t think. So, this is starting over.
And, life is starting over too. At 54 years old, I’ve left home. I have lived my whole life within a 20-mile radius of the hospital where I was born. In a small town. My dad taught for a while at the high school I wound up attending. I’d go to the office for an aspirin and the secretary would say, “Can you take aspirin? Your FATHER can’t take aspirin!” And I’d tell her I could, and she’d give me two. My teachers knew my father too. It’s not that I got into trouble – I was a good girl and got good marks – but there were disadvantages. My sister went to the same school I did. When my Mum remarried, my new stepsister and stepbrother had all been to high school with us. My son went to the same high school as all of us, and even though it was more than 20 years later, he had some of the same teachers. At parent-teacher nights, as a parent, I saw mostly people I’d gone to school with, as other parents, sometimes as teachers.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with any of that. Lots of people have lived like that since the beginning of time, and lots of people do it happily. Things happened in my life though, in the years since I’ve turned 50, and I changed a lot. I don’t want to do the things I’ve always done. The people who love me celebrate my changes, for the most part. And at the same time, there’s a subtle pressure not to be TOO different. I found it that way. Your mileage may vary.
The other thing is – I was always timid. I didn’t strike out and do things on my own. I used to be terrified of heights, and now I climb on chairs, ladders, countertops, windowsills, piles of rocks, to do what I want to do. I’m learning how to drive a car for the first time in my life. I want to try things I haven’t tried before, find out what I can do by myself. It won’t be by myself, really, I’ll have lots of help.
A friend of mine suggested recently that I’ve been a respectable hobbit all my life. Bilbo Baggins was a respectable hobbit, who never did or said anything unexpected, right up til he was 50 or so, it says in the book. And then Gandalf put a sign on his door saying he was a burglar looking for employment, and the dwarves took him at his word and hired him on Gandalf’s say-so. Bilbo resented the whole thing, Gandalf and the dwarves and the expectation he’d go with them. He was frequently afraid, and lacked the resources it looked like he’d need. And he resented the dwarves’ belief that a timid hobbit couldn’t be of any use to them, and decided he’d show THEM. Somehow, he got through his adventures, and he came back a changed hobbit.
The analogies all seem apt to me. I’ve spent a lot of my life being a respectable hobbit, and now I’m going off to have adventures. I don’t EXPECT to meet any dragons. Bilbo did. But I do believe that like Bilbo, if I do meet one, I’ll find I’m equipped for the encounter, in ways I don’t have to know yet.
The road goes ever on and on …