There’s a moment in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when Bilbo, having turned down the offer to join in their quest, wakes up relieved that the dwarves are gone. He stands in his once-again calm and peaceful home, reveling in the silence, the emptiness, the back-to-normalness. Then his shoulders droop, and we can tell he’s already regretting it. Moments later, he’s dashing across Hobbiton, contract in hand, giddily proclaiming to anyone who will listen, “I’m going on an adventure!”
And here I sit, at the same old desk, at the same old keyboard, in this same old apartment, and wonder where my Bilbo moment is.
I know a baker’s dozen’s worth of dwarves and a wizard aren’t going to arrive on my doorstep to whisk me away. It would be a lot easier if somehow they did. But I’m not a well-to-do hobbit with the ability to take off at a moment’s notice, free of responsibilities and obligations. I take off on an adventure, and the only way I’ll resemble Bilbo will be to come back and find my stuff out on the sidewalk.
That doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could. I stare at the edges of the map of my routine and wonder what’s beyond them. Even what I do for fun has become part of a schedule, Tuesday doing this, Sunday doing that. And as much as I enjoy those things, and the company I find at them, I don’t feel any spontaneity. I’m not even sure I’m capable of any. Mostly from a financial standpoint, but too often the lure of the isolated comfort of my apartment sends or keeps me home instead of, well, anything else. My adventures are someone else’s, on one screen or another.
I can’t say I’m unhappy. But I’m mundanely content. I want something Tookish to wake up inside of me. I want to breathlessly race out the door and shout, “I’m going on an adventure!” I want the Bilbo moment. I know it takes but a step. I just have to make myself take it. Follow a road I’ve never driven down. Go to a restaurant I’ve never eaten at. Something. Anything.
Without the intervention of wizards and dwarves.