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Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

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I have always loved this poem. It is first seen in Gandalf's letter to Frodo in Bree. In that letter, it appears as part of a postscript reminding Frodo to make sure that the "Strider" he meets is "the real Strider," or Aragorn.

Of course, the poem has meaning even outside the context of The Lord of the Rings. "Not all those who wander are lost" has been my tagline on Facebook for years. It is on a painted canvas that I picked up in Thailand in my kitchen.

My life has been far from conventional. When my friends were getting married in our twenties, I went to live in Asia. When they began having babies, I moved cities for new jobs. When their kids were starting school, I started grad school. When they'd been working in their fields for 10+ years, I was just starting out.

More recently, when I thought they'd be coming to my wedding; instead, I'm going to Romania.

Life is never-ending tale of twists and turns, many of them out of our control. I can control my own actions, but I cannot control the weather or the stock market or other people any more than the weatherman can control the rain.

Sometimes, life sucks.

But when it does? That's a good time to pick up Tolkien and be reminded, again, that not all that glitters is gold, and that just because you feel lost doesn't mean you are.

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