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Wonder Addicts

Photo courtesy of  Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

“But how can you have a sense of wonder if you’re prepared for everything?”
— Margaret Atwood

Two years ago, my husband and I quit our jobs and hit the road to travel aimlessly across America. We didn't plan a route and had no idea where we would sleep every night. Our only focus was to get away and clear our heads, and we were hopeful we'd experience some sort of magical epiphany so we'd know what might be next for us.

We're still waiting for that epiphany, because as it turns out, next doesn't matter near as much as now.

We are addicted to wonder.

I suppose we could chalk it up to the fact that we are DINKs (dual income, no kids). It's not difficult for Mat and I to make dramatic changes, and on the outside looking in it may seem to some we are suckers for major life transitions. Maybe we are. But more than that, I think we have become Wonder Addicts, and we are thankful that our choices have granted us such freedoms.

Being addicted to wonder means we choose every day to stop limiting ourselves to a specific way of living - based on what society says we should be doing (as a married couple), or what our friends and family think we should be doing. We knew all along we didn't want children but we tried the house with the front porch and the fence and the cars and the careers that gave us status and a sense of power and responsibility; we began as cookie-cutter as possible, because it felt safe, but we knew we were different. We knew we wanted to be different.

I used to believe I'd only ever make so much money or only ever do a certain kind of job because of my lack of formal schooling or my lack of actual talent. I never pinpointed how so many of my beliefs were compilations, mix tapes, of everyone else's beliefs. I didn't realize how little I believed in myself and my own abilities. 

I choose to believe in myself now, but for me, that belief has to be paired with wonder - because sometimes beliefs hold us back from experiencing all that is begging to be experienced.

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.”
— Gerry Spence

I transport myself back to quitting our jobs and trekking across the states at least once a day. Being brave enough to start a new chapter of our lives is one of our greatest (and favorite) accomplishments, but it has also been incredibly scary. Thinking about our time on the road is like dreaming with my eyes wide open, but it also makes me feel irresponsible and ungrateful, as if the mere thought means I don't appreciate this current chapter of our journey - the city chapter - or what we have. 

I am beyond grateful for our current chapter of life, but I can't help myself. I close my eyes and I feel my feet up on the dash with a book in my lap, reading aloud as my husband makes up silly songs about each state we've driven through, the sun suffocating us with its heat. I imagine running my hands through my greasy hair and smelling the sweet stink of our bodies because we slept in the car at a rest stop and could only wash ourselves in the bathroom sinks. I remember laughing, and enjoying the shocked looks when strangers asked us how it was possible that we, each of us, did not have jobs to get back to. We were dramatically more connected to each other and our own lives. 

But the thing that trip really reminds me of - and makes me even more grateful for - is the constant wonder we existed in. We sat for hours at a time being still, present, while always on the move with changing scenery and speed limits. It felt fast, and so slow. We existed in the moment, and it was the only moment we were concerned about. We didn't care where we were going or how or when we would get there. We only cared about what was happening now.

We have no need for epiphanies.

Two years ago, our collective subconscious made a silent agreement with the universe. We committed ourselves to living lives full of wonder. We just didn't know we did, until now - and now is always the most important moment.

Now erases the need for an epiphany about what's next. Why worry about how to plan for next when you can exist in the wonder of right now?

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