"So it went on, until his forties were running out, and his fiftieth birthday was drawing near: fifty was a number that he felt was somehow significant (or ominous); it was at any rate that age that adventure had suddenly befallen Bilbo. Frodo began to feel restless, and the old paths seemed too well-trodden. He looked at maps, and wondered what lay beyond their edges:.."
I hadn't realized previously that both Bilbo and Frodo were 50 when their adventures began, until I ran across this portion in the 2nd chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring. It can't be only coincidence! It seems to reinforce what so many people experience when they reach a certain significant (or ominous) age and want to explore outside of the old paths and see what is beyond the edges of their lives.
In Frodo's case, he has to go on the ultimate adventure, leaving his home, and risking his life for the greater good. That is his new path. Hopefully, most of us will not be called on such an extreme path in our lives. However, I hope we will not allow our world to become smaller because we are afraid to extend ourselves past our "borders" to meet new people, show hospitality, and to learn and experience new things.
I have to think that J.R.R. Tolkien, who started writing this series when he was 45 and finished when he was 57, must have been considering, to some degree, his own life and his own restlessness. A desire for change can happen even to people (and hobbits) that have a good and happy life. I love the life I have. I'm thankful for my home, my family and my job, but I have a lot of living left to do. I'm not ready to settle into my rocking chair just yet. It's good to know I'm not alone in that. What about you? Are you also wanting to see what lays beyond the edges of the map of your life? Feel free to add some comments below.