I am often consumed by the desire to lay waste to my life and start it over again. I don’t mean some overly dramatic Eat, Pray, Love kinda reset. I don’t see me setting fire to my world just to watch the flames. But sometimes in the morning, when I turn the key in the lock on my door, I imagine that this might be the last time I do it. That I could, if I really wanted to, leave this apartment full of things in this city that I love and simply walk into a new life.
The thing about growing up not really moored to anything, is that you recognize that you can always leave. You can start over; you will start over. You’ll cry and you’ll mourn and you’ll miss, but you’ll also rebuild and adjust and move on. You’ll wake up and the life you had that you so earnestly, so dearly loved will earn a collective shrug. You’ll get up and make coffee and go about your day. You’ll be fine.
It’s a precarious sort of being present and itching to make a break for it; the way your heart forms attachments but your head says, “You can leave this too.” It’s an unfairness really, to you who needs a rock even if you don’t need an anchor; to those who try to show up and be present for you.
Being is a skill. Staying is a skill. And if you don’t know what it means to be, to belong to something or someone or somewhere other than yourself, it’s hard to ever learn it. When you have spent your life turning inward, fixing and mending yourself, self-soothing, you are especially ill equipped at forming the attachments that might help heal you in this way you don’t always recognize you are broken. You are whimsy. You are wind. You move through the world as if you belong to no one. Because you don’t know how.
It’s how you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this life you’ve built, you could leave. It’s why you have such a hard time connecting. Why you forget things other people hold dear. Why people find you warm, but distant. It’s why the people in your life don’t totally trust you; they see you eyeing the exit even when you don’t realize that you are.
I fantasize all the time about leaving my life and starting a new one. And I’m really trying to stop.