We should go back to the saying, “No matter where you go, there you are,” which is true. It is also true to go back to the quote that says, “I don’t know about you but I have thought about running away more as an adult than I ever did as a kid.” This is also true but then again, chances are that we are adults for a lot longer than we’re kids.
There are times when life becomes complicated. Whether this is an emotional downfall or a personal dilemma, or whether this is a business problem or a work life complication, there are times when you want to run. You want to quit.
You want to pack up your bags and take it on the road. And of course, the adult mind understands that is an irrational option. Intellectually we understand that we can’t just “Get up and go!” But emotion and intellect are not exclusive. The two will often fail to see eye-to-eye.
Emotionally, there are times when we want to run. We want to get away and this is more than just a vacation. This is more than paid time off and an out-of-office memo that tells people when you’ll return. No, this is the fond farewell with a smile and perhaps an extended middle finger to tell people what you “really” think.
This is a need to step away. No more time clocks. No more senseless arguments. No more feeling the need to defend yourself or save face. No more bouts within our head. No more shame-based or fear-based thinking.
No more meetings that could have been solved with an email. Or better yet, no more arguments over text messages which could have been solved with a simple phone call.
There are times when we want to get as far away as possible. No more fake smiles or the condescending pow-wows between people who you’d sooner spit on than speak to.
No more wreckage from the past. No more reliving the mistakes that linger in our thought machine.
No more painful conversations which only take place in the mind; and therefore, we take on the energy of these talks, which is ever-perpetuating and further degrading our best possible interests. No more of this. No more of anything. Just an open road to a new destination. I get it. And I’m sure you do too.
I have this fantasy which I allow myself to consider. I do not say this is real or that this will happen. I do not say that I want to leave the people who I love or that I will never be heard from and never to return again. This is not an idea for a vacation by any means. No, this is just a fantasy that I allow myself to indulge and consider. This is a visualization of an escape route to where freedom lives.
I call this my convertible fantasy which consists of me in the driver’s seat of a classic convertible, – maybe the car is red or money green with tan seats, top down, the blue sky above and an open road is ahead to lead to a place, like say, anywhere in the unknown parts of the USA where people smile or say “hello” for no other reason than to be kind.
I have this idea of me, somewhere down by Texas, close to Mexico. I can see the sands of the desert and the rock formations that stand on either side of a long stretch of open road. The sky is clear blue and perfectly unblemished. I can feel the wind in my hair and hear the music from the radio.
I can see this as clearly as feeling the sun on my face when days are warm. I have a worn out satchel, which is light brown to be exact and this sits beside me in the passenger seat. The bag is packed with only a few contents – a book called All I Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum – a book of Jim Carroll’s, which could be Living At The Movies, Void Of Course, or Forced Entries. Either one would be fine. Then I think I would add Jack Kerouac’s Tristessa or maybe I would listen to this as an audio book read by William Fitzsimmons.
I’d have a notepad and some pens. I’d have my trusty laptop, which is what I am speaking through – right now – at the moment, I am coming from a place inside of my head. I am coming to you from a place where I am very much like the rest of the world.
I find myself on the verge of another search. I am looking – always looking and I am fortunate for what I have found. I am grateful for my travels and thankful for the things I have collected along the way. I am fond of memories that lead me to places of great introspection.
There are times like this which are valuable to me and in need of mention. There are moments like a time when I was a young boy. Rather than go off with the group, I decided to walk away and spend the day by myself. To say this was huge is an understatement. I was a person who wanted to be wanted. I wanted to be included. I wanted to be part of the crowd and happy. I wanted to be like most people, or at minimum, I wanted to be regular – not awkward or too odd to be comfortable.
However, something struck me. For whatever reason, I thought of the idea to detach and walk away. What an amazing thing this was and rather than go with my friends (or so-called friends), I chose to take a walk by myself. I chose to separate from everyone and everything. Rather than be part of the crowd, I chose to become the crowd.
But more, I chose to explore and walk along this tiny stream that ran up and down a parkway behind a shroud of trees. I was alone. Yes, but I was not lonely. I was not wondering if I was missed or if it was noticed that I was not there. I was not thinking about anyone or anything.
Instead, I walked. I suppose I walked the way a free person would walk. Not a care. Not a worry. Just a journey that was free to unfold.
I thought about nothing in particular. As a matter of fact, all I thought about was the stream and how long it had been there without me noticing it before. I suppose I thought about the smell of the trees and the water, which was shallow and babbling.
Maybe at some point I recognized that I wasn’t thinking my usual thoughts. And yes, I supposed that I noticed the lack for regard for anyone else. And dammit, this felt good! In fact, this felt amazing.
I have other memories like this which come from a time when I chose to get lost, just so I can be found.
Perhaps I told you about this before and at risk of repeating myself, I will tell you again about a drive I took for no other reason but to drive. I got in my car and left without any destination in mind.
The next thing I knew, I was at the east end of Long Island, sitting in a small place where they served a great bowl of soup.
I swear this was perfect. Not just just the soup. Not just the friendly waitress who called me “dear” and not just the scenery, which was Montauk and the ideas of outbound commercial fishing boats on their way to unknown places and working the seas to make their living. Not just this. Not just the hours of a drive with the music blaring and a time where my thoughts were more thoughtless and the cares were more carefree. No, it was the entire experience of priority, which was me.
I’ve had a few mornings where I was at the beach after a long night in the city. I drove home after the after-hours places and me with my outfits or me with my silver hooped earrings and my attempts to dress as if I were relevant – I stood with cigarette in my lips, cupping the lighter as if I were a character in a novel.
I lit my smoke and exhaled to the wind as if to be cool – my collar spread over the lapel of my jacket, the cuffs from my shirt unfolded and folded upwards over the cuffs of my blazer – like a rock star, like a product of my environment, like a gangster, like a serpent, like a hero and villain, all in the same – and albeit briefly, it was here during a moment of introspection where I defied my personal terms – and for the moment, I was fine to be on my own.
I learned that a person can run as fast as they want or hide as best as they can, but there is no getting away from yourself. I know this because I tried for decades and, in the end, I always found myself back at the same outcome. You can either revolt and rebel against yourself or you can embrace yourself and come to terms.
There was a morning I spent on a beach in San Diego. I was approximately two miles from Mexico. I thought about places like Baja or towns that I’ve heard about but never seen, like Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, or Acapulco and Santa Cruz, Oaxaca at the Gulf of Tehuantepec.
There was the sunrise at first light, appearing through a silvery mist above the quiet Pacific – in fact, this is where the Pacific got its name. Remember? This happened in 1520 when Ferdinand Magellan under the employ of Spain, reached the ocean after a tough run. He called this place the Pacific because of its calmness.
Perhaps this is why the fantasy lives – to run or to drive off or to be somewhere calm and serene. Or maybe it would be better to be anywhere (but here). But more, the fantasy is not strictly about the drives or the need to run off – but like Magellan after navigating through the Straights – sometimes we need to find a place where all is calm and peacefully disconnected.
So we can say “ah” and just relax.
I am writing this to you as a person. Not as a professional or as an expert. I am writing this as a peer. I am human. I am not a guru or a mentor. I am real. I am flesh and blood, breath and bone.
I suppose the need to run is to leave it all behind us. Or, if we do take it on the run, the idea is to keep moving or to get away from the infractions and the injustice of our lives.
The ideas of my convertible are often a depiction of me and my need for distance. This is a matter of separation of the heart, which can be heavy at times.
I see this as an escape to find freedom.
Like anyone else, I want to be free from my mistakes and free from my encroachment or moments of selfishness. I want to get away from the infections of the mind such as my past; such as guilt or shame.
I want to get away from regret or the things I wished I never said.
This is my escape route; to get away and provide distance between the arguments that I wished had never happened. Yet, they did happen and as a result, my conclusion is the past is nothing other than an unalterable existence. There is no changing it. There is no re-litigating or reshaping what’s happened. There’s no way to accurately predict what’s to come and for now, all we have is this moment to shape the benefit of what’s to come.
I suppose the idea to run away is to get away from the forced entry of our unwanted thinking. Perhaps this is an attempt to get away from ourselves or more, maybe this is us, like when we navigate through troubled waters, hoping to find a semblance of peace when we get to the other side.
There’s a place on the moon called The Sea of Tranquility which is located in the Tranquillitatis basin. There’s no water here or anything like that – but ah, I can only assume the quiet peacefulness of a place like this. No loud noises. No angry cabs swerving like they do on Lexington Avenue or 3rd. No reasons to run or hide. No pain. No fear. Just peace.
I am approaching a new journey. I don’t know what this means and I don’t know how this will turn out. All I know is that I have more to find before at last, I can say that I’ve found (it!) I have more to write about and more to say.
I have more to do.
And so do you.
So let’s get to it.