Last summer I suddenly had to move apartments and in my desire to stay in the same neighbourhood I had to take a smaller place. I’d pretty much become a shut in, and I’d thought I was mostly OK with that. I didn’t want to leave the safety of my nest! The new place felt suffocating and small, how would I fit my stuff? The thought of moving filled me with panic!
I’d never been the type of person that got attached to physical things until a few years ago, I’d always been able to pick up and go when the urge hit me. However when preparing for this move I finally realized two huge things! First, how much junk I’d acquired over time… and it scared the *bleep* out of me! It terrified me even more to see how withdrawn I’d become from the world. I’d got to the point that going out at all felt like a monumental achievement. How had this happened?
How do I explain this? Have you seen Labyrinth? (If not, go rent it, it’s a classic!) Remember that scene when the Junk Lady keeps piling Sara’s childhood toys, lipstick and other random ‘sentimental’ and / or ‘necessary’ things on top of her to stop her from finding the path she needed? When I was a kid and first saw that scene, my heart started beating so fast and I could scarcely breath… “Sara, don’t fall for it! Run, Go!” I felt like yelling at the screen. Something about that scene really scared me when I was a child.
That same suffocating fear, desperation and even anger is what I was feeling about my life. How had I got myself into this? Hadn’t my answer to the question “what’s the most important thing in my life?” always been “Freedom”? What does that word really mean to me? Was it still important to me? Did I really feel free at all? No, I slowly realised as I looked around at my little life… all I really felt was closed in, small, scared and very, very alone.
I knew I had to step back and take a good hard look at what it was I really wanted. Was it the comfort of a nice place filled with objects that I knew? A good career? The relative security of knowing I had everything I needed, and knowing anything else was only a short walk away? Is that really all life is? What the hell is the point of it all?
Slowly over the next few months between fits of crying, screaming and completely irrational behaviour I realised I DIDN’T have what I needed at all. I had a lot of ‘conveniences’ and ‘nice’ stuff and a ‘comfortable’ place to call home but I still had a gaping empty hole in me. I’d lost the child that could see the Junk Lady’s trick for what it really was.
This complete U turn in my life is so that I can find the answers to these basic questions.
Where is my place in this world? What are things I believe to be truths? Does my existence help or change anything? Does that really matter? Is freedom still the most important thing to me? If not, what is? How do I really define freedom? What makes me happy? What do I want to change? How do other people feel? How do other people live? What’s important to them?
I’ve been accused of being a very black and white thinker, never seeing the shades of grey… and this is probably a true case of it. I’ve decided that selling all my stuff and backpacking around the world looking for answers is the best cure for this lost little girl that somehow became a shut in afraid of losing her stuff!
I’m alternating between excited, terrified and often being totally numb… but a wise woman once told me “if it’s too comfortable and easy you’re probably on the wrong road”. Even if I decide nomading isn’t for me, I will have tried something new and will have taken the first steps to finding myself again… that alone is worth more to me than the comforts of ‘home’.