I have contemplated, mused, struggled and put off writing this for months now. It seems like something that I can’t explain with words alone, but for some reason I feel the need to try. So here goes nothing.
At some time in our lives, most of us reach a point where we feel like we are finally on the path to a happy life, the life we were meant to have. Some of us will continue on down this path, blissfully unaware that we could ever stray. The rest of us learn that the path is laced with landmines and get our legs blown off. Fair warning, if you hate metaphors, you should probably leave.
In my early 20’s I felt I had reached this mythical path of happiness and stability. Growing up my life was anything but stable or conventional, so when I reached this magical path it all felt so right. Finally, I can have a normal life and be happy. Finally, it’s time to live the life I want. I was engaged, I had a great job, I had nothing to complain about. Then everything started to go wrong. My life began to fall to pieces. Everything I thought I knew collapsed. The worst part was, there was nothing I could do to stop it. We like to feel like we have some semblance of control over our lives. We forget that we only have control of ourselves and not over anyone else, no matter how hard we try. After years of trying to manage and control my life, I simply gave up. I knew I couldn’t keep going on like this, but I was terrified to leave the safety and familiarity of everything I knew. It reached a point where I didn’t feel like I had a choice anymore, I had to do something or I wasn’t going to make it. So I jumped off the path, with the pieces of myself that I still had left. And then I was alone.
To say I had a rough time last winter would be an understatement to say the least. I have never felt more hopeless in my entire life. I woke up every day filled with so much sadness, it felt like I was rotting from the inside out. The agony I felt, not just emotional, but also physical at times, was relentless. Most days I woke up and honestly didn't know if I could live another day. After months of struggling just to exist day to day, I started to slowly build a new life. Something in me wanted to keep going and I held onto that. I strengthened friendships, got a second job and invested time in my hobbies. As I built up this new life, things started to feel off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but the more stable and normal my life got, the more uneasy I felt. I wish there was some profound moment I could tell you about where I figured it all out. In reality, I was sitting on my couch one night around my 27th birthday and it dawned on me that I had to leave. I had to leave my life and see if I could find a better one.
Confession: I don’t know what I am doing, shocking I am sure. I am terrified to do this. It keeps me up at night. I don’t know if I will find a better or happier life, maybe the life I have right now is my best. Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe my best life is the one I had before and I have lost my chance at happiness. Or maybe not. One of my worst fears came true, I lost the person who was my whole world, my whole life. I lost my best friend, my other half, a piece of myself. I know there are worse things in life that can and do happen to people, but that doesn’t make what happened hurt me any less. I cannot decide what I should do, I feel like I am at a fork in the road. One path leads to death by fire, the other by drowning. But one path also has one of those blue turtle shells from Super Mario on it that I can eat and fly away. Except I don't know which path it's on. So which do you pick? Do you pick one and hope for the best? Yeah, I don't know either.
Part of this decision to leave is my constant need for change and adventure, which I have never really had the chance to fully explore. I have often had the urge to jump out of cars and just start running, not towards anything, just away. I love to travel and have spent my whole life moving (this will be move #20 I believe). I can't wait to wake up everyday and have a new adventure. The other part, to put it bluntly, is that I miss my old life so much I cannot bear to be reminded of it anymore. My whole life reminds me of what I used to have and it's eating me up inside. And I can't decide what to do about it. So to hell with what I am supposed to do, or what the smart thing to do is, this is what I am going to do. This is what I have to do. I am running away, I am not ashamed to admit it.
In 2016 I will have quit my jobs, gotten rid of most of my things and said goodbye to everyone I know. I am going to travel the world, live my life and see what happens. I have tentative plans for where and how long I will travel, but they are not concrete and honestly, I hope life surprises me. On one hand, I am very excited to live out my dreams and very grateful that I am able to. What an adventure this will be! On the other hand, I am devastated that this is what I have to do to continue my life currently. Healthy, normal people, don't have to set their lives on fire. However, I guess that is the ying and yang of life. How exciting, but how sad, that I am leaving. I am optimistic that this is not a decision I will regret, and I am hoping that ten years from now I will look back and think, "What an amazing journey that was. I wouldn't change a thing."
I will leave you with a song from one of my favourite artists. I feel like it was written just for me (I know it wasn't, I'm not a complete narcissist).