The Hobbit: Stay safe or have an adventure?

I admit it. I haven’t read the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings.hobbit Somehow, I missed these in my growing up years, my school library in Bombay was surprisingly bereft of these titles. When the movies came out, they didn’t catch my fancy. But just this weekend I chanced upon this beautiful copy of the Hobbit on a lazy farmhouse where I was spending the day with my husband. Immediately the words were spinning a story and speaking a truth in a way no movie speaks to me.

In the passage below, Mr. Baggins, the hobbit, feels a tug between the safe and practical side of his personality, which says, stay where you are, be safe, and the part of him which wants more, which says, there are adventures out there for you to live and see and feel.

As they (read: the dwarves) sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and a jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick. He looked out of the window. The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns. Suddenly in the wood beyond The Water a flame leapt up–probably somebody lighting a wood-fire–and he thought of plundering dragons setting his quiet Hill and kindling it all to flames. He shuddered, and very quickly he was plain Mr. Baggins of Bag-End, Under-Hill again.

Sometimes, as we hesitantly edge toward new adventures, we feel fear. Our minds conjure worst case scenarios of all that could go wrong on our adventures.  And we hit the brakes. We stop. But maybe we need to think of all that could go right…maybe we need to include in our calculations, the cost of missed adventures. Maybe we need to say, it is time.

Are you feeling this tug between the head and the heart? Between the old and the new? Between staying still and flying? How do you know what’s the right thing to do?

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