A failed quest for freedom?
When I was little, I wanted to run away from home.
The first time I did this, I’d been told off by my mum. I put my dressing gown and a teddy into my lunchbox, walked up to the top of the road, and sat on a garden wall. My little sister came and told me that my mum wanted me, so I went home. I was so upset when she wouldn’t let me back out. (As a mum now I can see why she didn’t!)
I thought about running away again, but I wasn’t allowed to cross roads on my own. I thought about running away without crossing roads and just walk on pavements instead, but realised that eventually I’d end up where I started.
When I was a little older, I thought about running away again. I planned to pack a bag of my belongings and leave it underneath my bed until the time came to leave. It would be early one morning that I’d leave, well before anyone else woke up. I hated my then stepdad and hated that he made my mum choose him over us time after time again. But I was worried about where I’d sleep and how I’d make money to eat. I thought I’d be found and forced to come back home and it being worse for me there, so I never followed through.
The child fixed on running away sees things differently now
Now I’m 35 and looking back on these childlike attempts for freedom through a different lens. The past is giving me food for thought in the present, and I want to share it with you as you think about your future.
As adults we have a level of control over ourselves and our circumstances, in a way we just didn’t as children. We have more insight, more life experience, increased access to resources and more freedom to use them to propel ourselves forward.
I know some of you might be reading this and thinking, “Really??” But it’s true. The difference between who you are now and who you were then is that you are now in charge.
You are no longer just the reader, but the author of your life story and you choose the outcome of the main character. And if you still feel like that isn’t you yet, then there’s some big reveals that life has left to show you. Be open to them.
My life once felt like I was a side character in a story I had no control of. The narrative seemed outside of my control, I didn’t write the script, and I certainly didn’t know what scene was coming next. I was miserable and helpless to do anything about it, because I’d decided I needed permission from somebody else first. I wanted someone to save me.
But what if you’re that somebody you’ve been waiting for? What if it’s actually up to you how life plays out from this point forward?
The hero of the story doesn’t run away
One thing I’ve realised about life is that it is a big adventure.
You can stay where you started and watch life pass you by and pine for something different… Or get out there and forge your own path and move in a direction that feels good for you. You have two options; be comfortable or be brave. So, what will you pick?
Many of us are curious, but comfortable with how things are going and not curious enough to rock the boat. Some of us want to do things we haven’t seen anyone else do yet. Some of us want more than what is immediately around us. It’s different for everybody. Is it a little daunting? Yes. But a small part of us is somehow cheering that curiosity on. It exists, even if you choose to ignore it.
Maybe you want to step out and explore life for yourself but because you haven’t done this before, you’re afraid of what might/might not happen. Or maybe you tried that once before, it didn’t work out, and you’re still feeling bruised about it. You’re afraid of failure or of looking stupid, heavily focused on doing it perfectly the first time or not at all.
But how about you give yourself permission to be imperfectly curious?
Change starts with you
Fear stops some people from venturing out, but that doesn’t have to be you.
You can’t eliminate fear but once you recognise it, you can package it differently. You can take it with you on your journey. Turn fear into motivation and reframe it as excitement. Hold fear in the palm of your hands as a reminder that you are indeed a soul having a human experience.
You’ll need to walk where you haven’t walked before. This requires you to take a few risks in the darkness, and let your faith in your vision light the way. Let your curiosity overpower your fear of the unknown. Deep down you’ll know if you stay, you’ll never know how different things could be.
Now you’ve given yourself permission to dream, have a vision of where you want to go, packed your bags and prepared yourself for your journey, are you ready to take that first step?
Maybe part of you feels like you’d be running away from your comforts.
But what if I invited you to view it differently?
What if you saw it as running towards something great?
What would you do then?