Monday, April 15, 2013

Free to be free...

Since it's been a while, and since traveling always makes me think about Big Important Life Things, this will be a contemplative sort of post.

For some reason, a memory from high school recently popped up in my head. In Grade 10 I had an amazing homeroom + English Lit. teacher called Mrs. Quigley who managed to teach difficult concepts and pull the best out of her students while also being incredibly relatable, funny, and friendly in her classes. One morning I must have looked particularly unenthusiastic about being at school as she asked me if I was okay and said that I could take the attendance sheet down to the office if I felt like walking around a bit. High school was not the best time of my life. But I didn't display my dissatisfaction openly and tried to just quietly get I was surprised that this teacher had noticed how I really felt and even empathized with me instead of expecting full on enthusiasm and such. Anyway, I was really touched but at the same time I couldn't imagine feeling anything different from the...suffocation (sorry for the melodrama) of that time. I felt so stuck and the torture of being surrounded by people with whom I had extremely little in common was heightened by teenage-ness.

I think that kind of fear - that we will never be free, is paralyzing. It's easy to just get used to merely getting by and feeling numb, and that seems to be the expectation in society. School does not really teach us to be individuals and follow our dreams. Everyone is on the same track to get a job, get a house, and pay back their neverending debt. Anyway, this has been said more eloquently many times before. The point is, it's such a blatant lie. 

I don't really know how to phrase this everyone is born with dreams and joys and love and curiosity inside them. When we're young, these things seem to tumble out naturally and unconsciously. Then, we tend to get stuck for a while. During those teenage years we're developing our identities, it's awkward and uncomfortable, especially if we are not free to just be ourselves but feel constantly judged by classmates. But then, it's possible to recover our freedom. It's possible to just live freely on your own terms and do anything you want with your life. This realization hit me really hard and totally changed my life. Once I started traveling by myself, doing what I had always wanted to do but felt too scared/intimidated to try, experimenting, exploring, playing...I started feeling so incredibly happy and genuinely alive. 

Perhaps this sounds like some kind of advertisement for 'The Secret' and I do apologize...but isn't it lovely to wake up and feel free and capable of doing anything. There really are no limits. Not a lot of people in the world have such opportunities and I think it's absolutely necessary to really live and do and see and experience everything possible before it's too late. My desire kept growing until it became stronger than my fears, and now I cannot stop exploring and following my inspirations to new places. When we're children, I think we do all of these things naturally - life at that time is all about discovery and everything feels magical. What I realize now is that this shouldn't stop when we grow up. Life should always be a process of discovery and growth and I hope I never get stuck again. Feeling childlike wonder, amazement...seeing new places and trying new things for the very first time...for me it makes the world magical and meaningful. I want to keep exploring and getting tangled up in all this beauty for as long as possible.


  1. I love love LOVE this post, Lucy! I'm sorry to hear about what high school was like for you and the suffocation, and I can say you were and are not alone in that respect! I think for many, and for some people more than others, that sense of introversion and having little in common with the people around them is a sign of a creative spirit. Yet the world is designed to move along a specific, linear path and rewards extroversion, despite the appearance of choice. It's easy to get swept up in what we feel like we should do, rather than explore what we are.

    This is definitely food for thought! I've been ruminating on this topic for a while and have thought about writing a post on it, but haven't found the words yet. Thanks for sharing this, Lucy - suddenly I feel a heck of a lot better :)

  2. Thank you so much, Jessie!!

    It's hard to post about these kinds of things, but so important to get it out!

    I really appreciate your support, it makes me feel better too :-)