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May 27, 2016

Are You a Wonderer?

“Nobody is ever ‘just wondering.’ There’s always a reason they asked.”

Yesterday we looked at how “Not all who wander are lost.” Today I want to examine another, similar truth: “Not all who wonder are leaving.”

It is okay, for instance, to wonder what a different life would be like. It’s okay, for instance, to wonder what your life would be like without all these kids, or what it’d be like with another spouse, or what it’d be like to just be on your own. Perhaps, you most often wonder what it’d be like to just be on your own.

Be honest. Ever fantasize about just getting up, walking out the door, and never coming back? I hope so. I hope you allow yourself to wonder about all these things, because such thoughts can be the perfect way to solidify your current commitments.

See, catching ourselves wondering about a different life altogether can do two fantastic things for us:

  1. Wondering has a way of cluing us into to our current level of unhappiness, and what parts of our lives and relationships we’d like to see change.
  2. Wondering has a way of helping us feel more grateful for all the parts of our lives we do enjoy, and wouldn’t want to see change.

So yes, I’m encouraging you to wonder. Wonder about a new life of your own choosing, with a different spouse (or no spouse), different kids (or none whatsoever), or a different occupation. Allow yourself to wonder what you’d love about a fresh start, and all the components that would fill your new life. Don’t be scared that if you give any of this a second thought, you’ll be out the door, faking your own death, and bartending on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean (is it just me?)

What should scare you is the growing, gnawing resentment most of us feel when we refuse to wonder. This resentment is what develops whenever we just put our blinders on, stamp down our fantasies, and refuse to do anything other than soldier on in our own private wars. These are the people who wake up one day and say, “I’m done.” And then they do far more than wonder—they wander off. (Hmmm…perhaps a new principle: Spouses who wander are those who never allowed themselves to wonder? Too cheesy?)

Not all who wonder are leaving. Allow yourself to ponder what else may be out there, and then do the hard work of accepting in gratitude what you can’t change, and changing in courage what you can.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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