Where to next?
That’s a question that’s haunted me my entire life. It’s followed me through each twist and every turn my adventures have taken. It shows up on the good days, when I’m trying to figure out where to grab dinner or visit some far off place. And, finally, it clocks in at about 9am on the bad days, when I have no idea where I’m supposed to go, what I’m supposed to do, or whether or not I have the strength to do it.
The question “Where to next?” follows us like a shadow. You can’t shake it, can’t place it, can’t cut it off with scissors and throw it in a drawer. It’s the question in our minds when we accomplish something great, come down from the high of celebration, and face the daunting challenge of figuring out what to do with our ordinary lives. It’s the pain we feel when adventures come to a close prematurely, when we face the long stretch of time that comes after failure. And it’s the aching, numbing woe we feel in all the times in between—the ordinary distractions of life that leave us wondering where to next?
What makes the question harder still is the sheer number of places you could go—left, right, up, down, larger, smaller, back, around—the sheer number of prepositions you can use to describe your options is outnumbered only by the options themselves. And in a world that is still turning and turning, widening and widening, we only find new opportunities, new paths, and new choices all around us.
But there’s another voice, speaking low in the crowded room of my heart, the one I always turn to in times like these. It patiently waits for its turn to speak, letting the celebration of success or weeping of failure die down, until there is space to be heard: the voice of adventure. It’s this voice I turn to when I need to know where to go next, the one that reminds me, in the words from Narnia, the true path my heart must always take:
After success, when I need to know what’s next…
After failure, when I don’t have the strength to start again…
And everywhere in between, when it feels like someone sucked the magic out of my life with a straw… Further up and further in, always, the only True North the voice of adventure knows.
May the road rise up to meet you!