I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to be comfortable. I don’t even want to be content. When I begin to feel content, I feel stuck… and that’s when I know it’s time to take an adventure in the wilderness. Contentment terrifies me. For me, contentment is the feeling of being comfortable with where I am in my life. Being comfortable makes me believe that I have done enough. That I can go through the motions of my nine-to-five job, kick off my shoes, & read a book while sipping Earl Grey. This week I learned a valuable lesson: I never want to be content, because contentment already killed me once. It’s not enough for me to just be alive, I want to live.
I never want to be stuck behind an office desk as a means of supporting myself. Never. Desks are the symbolic equivalent of heavy shackles, with the cold metal grasping you by your ankles, granting you little freedom or range of motion. Desks are the end of the road. Working behind a desk, for me, is death. I’ve been that person. That face behind a desk, staring at files & paperwork, wondering how I got there in the first place. Feeling trapped in the prison cell of a cubicle, thinking to myself how unfair it was that the only way I could experience the world was to look out of my office window. The world was created to be experienced, but not like this.
Getting married, buying a house, & starting a family are somehow expected, anticipated, & required ways to be deemed successful in our culture. Suburbia is a trap. I lived under the naive assumption that life would lead me to college, where I would meet the love of my life, & we would live happily ever after in wedded bliss with our four loving children. I laugh at that thought now, because that is not at all who I want to be. I want to be a wanderer, an adventurer, an explorer. Travel state to state, country to country, taking photographs & sharing those stories with the world.
I would have never known of this heartfelt desire if I had not fallen ill to the plague of beliefs that marriage & children will make you complete. Ten years ago, even five years ago, I wanted to be a loving wife & mother. But in the years between then & now, I have only grown to recognize my significance as one person, one unit. That remarkable journey excites me every single day because I am reminded that I don’t have anything holding me back anymore. This is my second chance at living & I will take advantage of that at every opportunity. I found the power within me & I want you to find that power within you.
Looking back on the last ten years, I know that I sold myself short in the most critical aspects of my life at the time: my education, relationships, & career. I was distracted because I was afraid of failure, being broke, being alone. Why did I give fear that much permission in my life? Why did it take me so many years to realize the power I held within myself all along? I don’t dwell long on those lingering questions, because I know that at this moment, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Those years of living in the land of fear & self-doubt were not wasted; my life now is the direct result of having lived in those shadows, shackled to a desk-job that I didn’t want, chasing the relationships that I never needed.
I want to live… and I will.