The Former Wanderer

I’m particularly fond of an Old English poem called The Wanderer. In it, the narrator speaks of his estrangement from his companions and from his home. The Seafarer is thematically comparable. The first time I read it, it resonated with me like few things ever have.

There is something comforting and validating about knowing other people whose predicaments are your own. Even if we don’t like where we are in life, we see others in similar circumstances and think “it’s okay for things to be like this and I’m not alone in it.” When I read The Wanderer for the first time in class (it had been assigned reading but I had been busy) I felt both a deep connection with the poet and newfound comfort in my own circumstances.

As grade 12 began, it became apparent to me that I would soon go to university and move out of my childhood home. I was mostly ready for this thanks to having been booted out the door to go to summer camp in many previous years. But I was still somewhat saddened at the prospect that I wouldn’t have a permanent home for a while.

So I moved between home and university and the summer camp I then worked at for years and years and years. Within university, I moved from dorm to dorm one year after another or sometimes even twice within a year. Then I lived in an apartmentĀ in my year after university, all the while knowing that it would be a temporary arrangement.

And then today happened. And I moved again into the downtown of my new city. And for the first time since before grade 12, I wonder if I might stay here for a while. Whenever something has been the case in our lives for a long time, there is a certain nervousness that can set in towards the prospect of things changing. We may be cautiously optimistic at best and cautiously optimistic is exactly what I am. Everything could work out for the next year, two years, or more. That would certainly be lovely.

But no matter what happens, one thing will stay the same. I love The Wanderer. I’ll always love that poem that spoke so clearly to something that was such a big part of my life for a long time. It’ll always be something I take with me. Even if the grand scheme of the future is uncertain, there’s one thing that won’t change.

Moving still sucks though.