birthday The day I left South Carolina I cried. I cried my way through half of North Carolina. I cried on my way past the mountains. I cried past peach stands, boiled peanuts and the house my ancestors built over a century ago. I cried passing the Blue Ridge overpass, the exit to Biltmore and the turnoff to Asheville. I cried through handfuls of songs and multiple commercial breaks. And although I was bursting with anticipation and excitement about what I was driving toward, I refused to look in the rearview mirror until I hit the Kentucky line, for fear that if I caught a glimpse of what I was leaving behind, I'd turn the car around.

The older I get, the more I realize this is life. Each day we're writing stories with our time, our moments, our choices. Every minute of every day we're filling the pages of a story that will ultimately be filed on a shelf alongside the story of everyone else.

History is happening -- and it's happening fast. There are no do overs, no rewind buttons, no mulligans. There are only choices and onward marches.

This weekend I turned 32. It's a good, sturdy age, 32. Old enough to have gotten over most of the bullshit hangups of youth, young enough to have not given up. Young enough to feel there's still plenty of time, old enough to know that's not how it always works out.

32. The older I get, the more I feel myself getting taken down with life's insatiable undertow. I want to be everywhere. I worry I'm not reading enough. There are continents and shorelines my feet have yet to meet. I long for adventure and at the same time crave stability. I am simultaneously paralyzed and propelled onward and upward by all the dots on the map where I find infinite amounts of love available to me. My definition of "family" and "home" have expanded exponentially, while my perception of a great big world has shrunk a little bit with each stop along the way.

“Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that we take with us for our entire lives, wherever we may go.

In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again, waiting for us in the mist.”

Friday night I traveled back to one of my dots, and there -- under fairy lights -- I had an epiphany. The word wanderlust is more or less defined as the desire to travel to new and foreign lands. If there is truly a counterbalancing equivalent to everything in the universe, then I propose the notion of "wanderdust." If wanderlust is the curiosity-driven desire compelling us into the unknown, wanderdust is the gratitude-laden breadcrumb trail of memories and moments and conversations that will always lead us home.

"Promise me you'll shake things up, wherever you go," you once said, "People out there are desperate to dance and swirl around and lose their minds."

I've got two snow globes -- one in each hand.

This is life.

And 32.