You’ve heard it all before.
“I want to retire and travel the world!”
It’s an age-old desire that nearly all of the world I’m used to desires. It’s basically to a point where we don’t even question it – it simply is the definitive end-all, be-all of why we are here. But why?
Most people never have to ask Why? because they never actually have the opportunity. It’s the pipe dream that gives them hope. It’s this unbelievable end game where they forsake responsibility, which plagues them, and they embrace new adventures, seeing new things, and experiencing all this enormous, wonderful, beautiful world has to offer.
That makes sense. Total sense.
But I’m able to do that… and I’m not. I typically preface anything I write with “I’m not trying to be arrogant” or “I have total respect for those who disagree,” but today, I’m just going to write. It’s my first blog post and I’m not writing for the masses. I’m writing for me.
I’m, by the standards of a Capitalist economy, pretty damn rich. I feel like I was fortunate but also worked my ass off for it. That’s another post, but I’m in a position where I have a bit of youth, almost no ties, and money is not an object… so what do I do? Why am I not pursuing this dream that nearly everyone has? Travel the world! Try new foods! Stay in beautiful places! Forsake this damn “normal” world!
And that makes sense. Total sense.
But why am I not doing it? If we have established this end game where you have total freedom to experience anything and everything – and I’m there – why am I not doing it? Let me literally try to write my way through this process… because, frankly, I don’t know.
The first possibility is anxiety. I’m an extremely anxious person… not as much as I used to be, but we are who we are. For one, I was voted “Most Shy” in High School, a vote that absolutely should not exist, and that sort of sums up what we call anxiety. To vote on such a thing is archaic, and I’m not trying to be a hippie here, but what if we voted on Most Bipolar or Most Sociopathic? That clearly makes no sense, so why does Most Shy? But nonetheless, being a shy person has a lot of consequences that most people don’t even think about:
It hinders your social evolution. You’re scared to ask for the crayons in Kindergarden (a vivid memory). You can’t pursue your passions and talents because the thought of basketball practice or even band is horrifying, yet you wish you could join. Your first kiss is later than everyone else’s. You’re terrified, not excited, to go to college. While the world has dumbed shyness down to “haha, he (or she) is so shy,” there’s an entire story behind the shyness and so many ramifications of it. Marginalizing a person’s social anxiety should never be a senior superlative or taken lightly.
Bottom line: that sticks with you and, in my case, as it pertains to this blog post, it is likely a significant reason why I’m not fully pursuing the so-called dream of unlimited exploration.
A second reason – and, keep in mind, I’m completely writing as I’m thinking – is that maybe, just maybe, it isn’t what we actually want. What we actually are desiring is an escape from our mundane, cookie cutter lives. And when we are at A, we have a tendency to want to go to Z… not K or P or even T. If your wife doesn’t like video games and perhaps chastises you for playing them, you may think a woman who loves video games is completely perfect for you despite the many, many things about her that aren’t compatible. We always want what we can’t have. When we can have it, we don’t want it. And we tend to hyper-focus on the thing that’s on our minds the most… a hobby, sex, business, anything.
A third possibility is that we, as modern day humans, are in a transitional period of evolution. We aren’t simply trying to survive, but we haven’t yet progressed to a point where we can fully realize the wonder of complete freedom. Let me try to work through this.
Not long ago, a human had to do whatever it took to stay alive. To eat. To protect. To find shelter. Today, by and large, these things are easy. We’re comfortable. No, I’m not ignoring homelessness or the many people in need, but the average person is comfortable. That’s our modern state in the timeline of social evolution. So, when you’re offered a chance to get off of that scale, perhaps it just isn’t in us to feel comfortable doing it. Maybe we still have innate feelings of protecting our loved ones and merely being able to eat. Maybe this newfound financial freedom that some people have found is so new that our modern mentality just doesn’t know how to really do it.
But… is it really the next step of evolution? No. There’s no way that the ability to experience all and explore all is what we are meant to do next. Humans exist because we are workers. We are progressive. We want to, at our core, advance not only ourselves but humanity. Yes, there are exceptions, of course. There are the Dahmers and the Mansons and the Madoffs and the monsters of this world. But we are talking in averages and normalcy here. And the average person, in my belief, is “wired” to advance our species.
If that is actually true, then that is probably my answer. A life of leisure is probably not what we truly would be happy with… it’s simply the fictitious belief based on our frustrations and inability to change our current situation.
And when you CAN change it, like me, you just find yourself running in circles. Chasing the next best destination to capture that Instagram shot that millions before you have captured. That, in turn, makes you want to capture the next one and the next one… and it never stops. Because we desire advancement of humanity at our core. We actually want to help people. That starts with our family because it’s the nearest and dearest to us, and that’s an evolutionary trait that dates many centuries. But what about when those people are doing perfectly fine and there’s no need to protect them?
I think that’s where the ultimate question lies. I would love to experience the world in a productive way. I want to not change, but advance, the world in a huge way. I’m constantly bothered by that desire. When I take a wonderful trip, I thoroughly enjoy it, but how do I feel when I walk away? Not fulfilled. I feel like it was an enjoyable experience, but I’m still left with the same desire to advance the world.
So I think that’s what I need to do. I need to take my blessings and apply them in a way that advances the world we live in, even if it is small. Because the person running a drill press in a tiny town in Nebraska is really doing the same thing. We’re all filled with a trait that says “EVOLVE!” and we are all equal in that feeling regardless of abilities.
As I’ve rambled and written through this, I guess I’ve realized that it isn’t sitting on a beach in the Bahamas and waiting to die that we want. Our very “small” desire to take care of those we love simply expands and we want bigger and bigger things. Not luxurious things but helpful things.
At least that’s how I feel. Shrug emoji.