“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” ― Alan Keightley
I’ve never wanted a tattoo but I imagine if I did it I would feel the way I do about this quote. It’s been rumbling in me these last few days and I can’t put my finger on why. There’s something forceful about it. It leaves me with this image of folks suddenly coming up for air and breathing in this realization only to soon forget it once more in the tide of “you should do…. you should be….” washing over them.
I feel like these last few years this quote has really hit me. I look around at folks my age and the natural milestones people are greeting with open arms. I weigh my options and they leave a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want those things that I am supposed to be chasing. I don’t want to experience the world the way I’ve been told to. I’ve never really wanted to but I think for years I went along with it – the independent thinker compromising with the people pleaser within me.
I know very clearly what I do want and it’s quite simple: I want to do life with others in a meaningful and mindful way. I think 10 years down the line, 20 years down the line, etc. and my best life would be living that way. I feel I am trying to do this now. I feel this all takes time. Amidst all of these feelings and thoughts, I’m left trying to figure out how it is I want to experience the world.
Right now, I keep reminding myself to slow down and to be mindful. For ages of human history, kernels of knowledge about what really matters has always been present. It’s just a matter of listening and focusing on those kernels in today’s chaotic world.
How do you want to experience the world? What have you been shamed into believing not to want? Who would you be if you moved to a brand new city and started over? I’ve restarted myself more times than I can count and it’s helped me find the core parts of me that remain steady and patient each time.
Sometimes on really down days, I center myself by asking what I would do if I knew I were to die tomorrow. It pretty quickly brings right to the forefront the things I want to do next even if it’s as simple as play soccer more often. Death will take care of this life at some point in any case and it could very well be tomorrow. Right now, I’m finding when I do this exercise my list revolves around doing more of what I’ve already done with the people I care about most in my life. There are no areas left unexplored at this point that feel missing from my being.
Anyway, we’re all doing this for the first time. No one knows what they are doing. I wish you all good luck.