For as long as I can remember, my driving motivation for major life choices has been getting away.
First, it was getting away from my family. When I was a little kid, I used to Run Away From Home regularly. I would get my mom’s suitcase and walk off down the street. I didn’t put anything in the suitcase; I just knew you had to take a suitcase with you to Run Away From Home. I would wander around the neighborhood and eventually go back.
When we went on our first school field trip to a city, I knew I was going to move to a city as soon as possible. The buildings and the sidewalks, all the cars and people, it gave me such energy! Here, I thought, things really happened. Not like my small town where everyone knew each other and nothing ever happened.
My family could have been worse. I was not abused. My mother was extremely lenient and soft. She let us do whatever we wanted. I never had a curfew or any rules. She taught me to forge her handwriting so I could write my own late and absence notes for school. We went to the mall together and bought lunch and looked at clothes. There were lots of good things.
But other things were not right. My mother wasn’t really a mature adult, in retrospect. She wanted to be a kid still, not a parent. Being a single parent was hard on her and I sympathize with that. I was fine. I was pretty much born a mature adult. I have felt “older” than my mother from a very young age. My brother was not fine. He needed a stricter parent and she wasn’t it. My house was chaotic. He was constantly in trouble. She listened to the police monitor in case something happened to him. He threw tantrums. We fought. He pushed me down the stairs. He threw things at me. He paint-balled my car. He harassed my friends and called me names. She could not control him. I hid in my bedroom reading as much as possible until I could escape.
Escape. That word is like a light bulb to a moth for me. Escaping holds so much promise. Going somewhere else. Anywhere. The unknown. Who knows what it will be, but it will not be this. Anything but this. How many decisions have I made in my life that were the result of “anything but this?”
I have lived all over the country because of it. I am never afraid of a new place or change. I love it and thrive on it. I don’t feel tied to anything. Through moving so many times, and sometimes long distances, I have whittled away my material possessions to the barest essentials. I don’t need things. I can pack all my stuff and move it in one small U-Haul in one day if necessary.
I don’t feel like I’m searching for something, I’m just always moving on. It’s never the promise of what’s to come, it’s getting away from what was.
Some people think this sounds terrible and they love to have things and put down roots. Not me. I don’t want roots, they just tie you down. I am a bird and I will be free. I will go where I please and there is nothing stopping me. The less Things I have the better. I donate unneeded things to people who need them.
Maybe someday I will find a place that makes me feel differently, but if not that is also okay. The world is large and there is so much to see. Every new place teaches me something. Every new state shows me the world from a different angle. I do not know what it is I want, but I always end up coming back to the same thing: not this. And then it will be time to move on.