I've been pretty efficient in figuring out my life (I'm only turning 70 in a few months), leaving myself some modicum of longevity to enjoy the fruits of those reflective labors.
For most of my life, though, I considered myself a restless soul, incapable of settling down into a productive and meaningful way of life. What I've come to conclude, however, is that I am a wandering soul incapable of settling down into a productive and meaningful way of life. The distinction is as fruitless as it is semantic.
Wherever I've been, I've almost immediately wanted to be somewhere else. I've raised my family covering six states, and then went on to live in two more on my own. Many people see their life passing them by and are sad. I see mine passing me by and I'm energized solely by that fact that it's passing. I used to see my life as irresolute by my lack of commitment to time and place. But I've come now to see my irresolution as a commitment to the relativity of time and place: the relativity of where I am is a function of where I've been as well as where I'm going next. And not being content to wait for it.
I'm currently able to live permanently in a place where I'm not tied down by a mortgage. Carol and I have lived here for a little more than four months, and have already spent three weeks out of the country. At least two more extended travels are already planned for next year, and our conversations tend to focus on where we'd like to go between those two planned trips. Clearly, the mere thought of having the freedom to go wherever we want whenever we want has brought me a peace and contentment I've only recently come to know and embrace.
For the the first couple of years of vagabonding in Europe back in the early 1970s, I had a recurring nightmare of returning to the States and being stuck there the rest of my life. In a moment of weakness and guilt informing a perceived dissipation of the life I was leading at the time, I did come back to the U.S., and began a different kind of wandering for the next forty years, the kind maybe only a biblical Moses would have understood.
But just as I'd convinced myself I'd never travel again, I started up again as if it had never stopped. First with Carolyn, and then alone and now with Carol, that wanderlust has once more filled my sails, and our wonderful new home seems more like a place to do a wash, get over jet lag and pack for the next trip.
I'm not looking for any sort of Enlightenment as a result of this life choice. The worst reason for doing what I'm doing would be to pass on some sort of wisdom or Truth, most of which I've seemed to have spent a lifetime trying not to impart on myself. I'm seeking no insights, epiphanies, legacies or possess any desire to leave anything behind. I write the way I breathe, and when I draw my last breath is when I want my last word to ever be read.
I know this doesn't sound much like a Philosophy of Life. But it has come to work for me as I ride into the twilight. And it makes me very happy to be able to live this way. As Philosophies go, that can't be too bad. I don't understand why restlessness has brought me such peace, so I think I'll just continue on this way until I do come to some conclusion.