In Praise of Wandering and Wondering

In July 2021, the fog cleared. After nearly five years at Hopelab, my mission was near completion –  baking in a more transparent approach to innovation, launching an in-house design group, and tackling challenges facing queer teens. The intensity of the pandemic and the clarity of racial injustice sharpened by George Floyd’s murder, set up a deeper, personal reflection and ultimately led me to make a change. 

I paid deep attention to the “great resignation,” admiring the many who leaped – for discontent, in protest, a “mission accomplished,” or for the sheer joy of a new adventure. Safety in numbers made joining this movement easier. I wrapped up my time on January 1 with two goals: wandering for a bit and wondering for a bit more.

The wander period melted my brain in the best way.  I overemphasized physical work and deemphasized brain work.  Day after day, week after week, my mind began to shift and drift – unburdened by calendars, deadlines, and updates. The shifting was to a calmer and more focused attention.  The drifting was into sparks of creativity and old-fashioned daydreaming, creating a bridge to more and more wondering. 

Wonder is less of a period and more of a state.  Curiosity has intensified. Connection with others is more exciting and meaningful. And I have a new sense of control. Perhaps that is what a good sabbatical, holiday, or vacation should invoke. So here I am just a year after that fog with new sparks and flickers of what might be next.

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