Everyday Valentine

While driving into work today, a “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman came on the radio. Tracy Chapman always reminds me of high school and all the big dreams I had stored up then. I got to thinking about dreams, valentines, and love. When I was younger, there was a whole list of things on my heart that I wanted. I thought I knew the ways of the world and I wanted to make it my own. I was not going to settle down. I wanted to be a professor of English Literature and travel in the summers. This was of course before I realized how little English professors make after the large debt incurred from graduate school. I have what can only be described as a wonderlust. That is not to say that I simply like to travel. I think most people would say that they like to travel. I do not simply want to travel; my soul aches for that feeling of going elsewhere. The knowledge that something totally unexpected might happen and you are not at home. There are people and places waiting to be seen by my eyes, which strain and water as they peer outward, looking for the unfamiliar. That is wanderlust and I suffer from it. This does not mean that I have actually traveled extensively because I have not. The farthest I have been from home is England, but that is not the point of this writing. The point is that this morning I was thinking of how we grow up and the evolution that our dreams take. I still suffer from wanderlust. If anything, it has gotten worse, but I know that there are better things in life than good vacations. I love a wonderful man who understands my need to spread my wings. I have a great job and a large family that is all within driving distance. I am not sad to see some things take a back seat to others. I am not worried that I have chosen a profession that will keep me in one place, a librarian, over the one that would have kept me traveling for years on end, a cultural anthropologist. Life’s small joys are always the best; they are the ones that make our hearts swell over and over. Our lives are a series of everyday joys and sorrows. I will feed my wanderlust with travels elsewhere, but that is not what will make my life. My life will be made by the everyday things, the mundane. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mr. Rochester.

–Jane, still in love after all this time