Philosophers say that similar to the sails of a boat, which harness energy that brings the boat on a journey, the propellers of a windmill do the same. They grab onto the wind, transfer it into energy, and carry the windmill on its’ “journey.” The difference is, the boat craves risk; it was designed to travel. It captures the air and with that, the boat is off, completing its’ destiny by roaming wherever it pleases. The windmill too has its tasks to complete, except it is completely satisfied with remaining immobile, not being presented with the opportunity of adventure. But as much as that windmill believes that remaining in place is what it was meant to do, do you ever think it questions what the other options out there are like?
Sitting in the back seat of a 1997 Ford Explorer, I remember as a child relentlessly begging my mom to drive past windmills. I was absolutely captivated by every aspect of them for some odd reason and I could not explain the motive for this admiration. Whether it was the hypnotic motion they spun in or the intricate designs and colors they were plastered with, during every car ride, my mom went out of her way to see my face light up when we simply passed by a windmill, my eyes glued to one for each passing moment there was.
I grew up then not truly understanding who I was in the world. Sure, part of that was because I was young, but the people I was surrounded by were all leading the same lifestyle, even my own mother. She went to high school and college, got her degree, got married, had kids and moved to the same town she grew up in. And every day either at the grocery store or the sports fields, she would run into people and catch up with them, then turn around to me and tell me how she went to high school with them. And I assumed that since my mom and all those other people had found satisfaction and happiness with what they had, that it would be perfect for me too. The image of that almost cookie-cutter life was engraved in my mind. I not only adored windmills, but without even realizing, I was infatuated with the idea of becoming one: unable to move, taking in success and utilizing it, all the while being fulfilled with my feet stuck on the same spot of the ground.
Years later, now looking out the back window of a 2004 Mercury Mountaineer, the windmill on the corner of Godwin and Franklin was approaching, one that I was most familiar with. My mom looked at me in the rearview mirror and smiled, knowing that I recognized where we were and what was coming at the turn ahead. Turning onto the street, I was face to face with what usually brought me so much joy. But instead of a giggle escaping my lips, something unforgettable happened, I let out a scream.
(You would expect me to be frightened by a large windmill, right? No, it was the small lawn ones that gave me a fright. Something like the one pictured below).
My mother panicked and pulled over the car, fearful that something had happened to me. She turned to me concerned, “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” she questioned. I replied to her with no hesitation, “I don’t like the windmills anymore mommy, they’re scary.”
Prior to that moment, I loved everything about windmills. Then, suddenly, my whole mindset of them changed. That idea of living life like a windmill, staying put in one spot forever, was what I dreamt about, until I came to realize in an instant that deep down, being a windmill frightened me. I knew at that moment that I did not want to be tied down to the same place permanently. I wanted the opportunity to travel and experience life in an adventurous manner. My thoughts of becoming a windmill shifted to that of a boat, using the success I harness to fill my sails but being able to see things in new places and perspectives, not being tied down to any specific place. And now I think about that boat and not only dream of being one, but dream of all the places that it can take me.