Why Do We All Want To Run Away?
Maybe Springsteen was on to something.
I’ve never been one to have wanderlust. I’ve never traveled outside of the states, save Mexico. I’ve lived in Arizona for 40 years. I’ve owned this home for 12 years. My friends and family are here.
Still, I want to run away.
I fantasize about it more than I probably should. My Instagram feed is full of adorable millennials living in tiny houses in wild locations or out of vans or RVs. They’re migrant.
I’ve spent the majority of my professional career chained to a desk. I’m thankful for what my career has brought me but it is, indeed, a hamster wheel.
I have written more than once about having lived my life with an overwhelming sense of obligation and duty that I always do what I’m supposed to do.
I was talking to someone last night that told me he sometimes considers saying fuck it and selling everything and buying an RV and just living a nice life out of a really beautiful, well appointed RV.
I asked him why he didn’t do it. He didn’t know.
He’s not alone. More and more, I see people sharing the same dream. I admire the ones that just do it. That get in the car or sell all of the “stuff.”
I was lamenting with a friend of mine over the fact that I have recently had two gentlemen, both romantic interests, make plans to go hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Just up and do it. They have the money. They have the means. They just want to disconnect. They’re over it.
Two different men. Same thought process. A few years ago, I would have thought that’s unlikely. I’m sure they’re not the last men I will meet that long to drop out of society for a while and leave me behind for the Appalachian Trail. Side note: The Appalachian Trail and I will be having words about her jacking my love life.
I’m trying to figure out why this is such a common thought process for people these days, particularly, my fellow Gen X’ers.
Are we tired? Are we bored? Has an entire generation come up behind us that has such freedom and liberation that we have a certain level of jealousy?
For me, at this point in my life I feel a certain need to book convention. Call it a midlife crisis. Call it whatever you want. But it’s there.
What’s interesting is that I’m not craving excitement. I’m not chasing a life based in thrilling adventure.
What I really want is a life more ordinary.
I want to wake up in the morning to calm thoughts and a warm cup of coffee where I can stare out the window at a beautiful garden that I’ve made. So simple.
Perhaps it’s a matter of coming to terms with aging and realizing that I’m on the back nine of my game instead of the front. I want to play the fucking hell out of these last nine holes.
Perhaps is the complete decline of the American Dream. The American Dream used to be the house and the car and the kids and the job. The vacations to someplace pretty and the gold watch. Now, it seems the American Dream is just getting up in the morning and doing whatever the hell you want. I have to admit. It’s a pretty good dream.
I know I have a number of more years of obligation left in me. That’s okay. It’s what I signed up to do and I’m not one to not see things through to the end.
But I keep a notebook. It’s my own “choose your own adventure.” It’s the book of big ideas. The book of big dreams. Because even throwing your hands up in the air and saying fuck it requires plans.
So you set some plans in motion so that when that moment does come that you can finally say, “This is what I’m going to do,” you can do it. And feel good about it.
I know there are other notebooks out there filled with plans like mine. The beauty of the planning is that we are cutting a wide swath for opportunity to come to us. And it will.
It’s fun knowing that everything that you do now is because you’re chasing your “runaway American Dream.” It seems a worthy dream to chase. Get on it.