Admit it: You just want to run away sometimes.
That “run away” feeling is just a normal, temporary impulse — a reaction to the frustrations and banality of everyday life.
It passes, though. Soon enough, you come to your senses and remember all the reasons why you can’t run away.
But here’s a thought: What if that impulse is right? What if you actually should follow your instinct to run away? And what if all the reasons you think you can’t are wrong?
It’s ironic, really. Running away from it all would make you happy. But you can’t run away because of all the responsibilities and obligations, which you chose… in order to be happy.
In pursuit of happiness, you got an education. Then a job. Then another job. You moved to a town where there are lots of jobs. You rented an apartment or bought a condo or house. And you bought a car. And started a family. You got into levels of debt that would have shocked your grandparents. You delayed gratification a thousand times. You scrimped and saved and sacrificed. You endured study and confinement. You put others first and postponed or canceled your dreams. And you did it all in the service of happiness.
So why do you feel the impulse to run away?
The short answer: You’re bored.
The longer answer: You’re an intelligent, curious, adventurous person who’s been dragooned into servitude by the circumstances of time and place. You’re a cog in the wheels of the industrial economy. The world doesn’t care if you’re happy and free. It demands only that you produce and spend.
You’re supposed to own a house. So maybe you own a house. But it feels like the house owns you. So many repairs. So much maintenance. So much cleaning, mowing and decorating. So much money for the mortgage and taxes. Your life feels like an endless grind of dishes, errands and workplace drama. It’s the opposite of what makes you feel joy and happiness.
Deep down, you’re an explorer, a wanderer and — if we’re being honest — a bon vivant.
Facebook tells you that others are having fun. Other people’s lives seem to overflow with adventure, ease and joy. (It’s all a social media “success theater” illusion, but still… Why can’t your days be filled with such things?)
Wasn’t life supposed to be different?
How would you explain to your 19-year-old self what your life has become?
You have mastered the art of delaying gratification. Someday you’ll walk the Camino de Santiago. And the Appalachian Trial. Oh, and the Pacific Crest Trail. (That’s a full year right there, at least! Sigh…)
Someday you’ll experience the Egyptian pyramids. And the Mayan pyramids. And the Taj Mahal, the Forbidden City, Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, and Petra. And the Great Wall of China, for God’s sake. Are you really going to die without standing on the Great Wall of China?
Someday you’ll experience the mossy quiet of ancient Buddhist temples in Kyoto, witness the burning animal violence of the Australian Outback and bob like a cork in the Dead Sea.
Or will you? When does “someday” happen, exactly? Vacation? Retirement?
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