I’m not saying you should, but isn’t it kind of wild to think that you could always run away?
Sometimes (most of the time, more accurately) we get stuck in the trap of thinking that our small circle is the whole world. Our inner circle of our partner, our friends, our family, our job, and our homes are our world, but it’s not the world.
When one or two or maybe all of these pillars of my world feel like they’re crumbling around me and I’m overcome with anxiety and fear, I have an exercise that helps me.
When my relationship ended and the thought of going to our old spots made me sick. When it felt like nothing was going right in my job and that I was sure that everyone thought I was a failure. When that gorgeous apartment fell through…
I could always run away. I could start over, I thought.
I could move to an island, work as a bartender with sun-kissed, coconut oiled skin. I could flirt with the tourists and fall in love with a local. We could lay on the beach and he could read and I could write and he could play guitar and I could sing for our friends at our nightly bonfire.
I could move to a villa in Tuscany or Rioja, apprentice under a sommelier and give tours at the winery. I could explore the countryside, finding a new dive bar every weekend where I would dance with a stranger who would laugh at my imperfect accent.
I’ve gone a lot of places in my mind, but these two are my favorite. The point is that they have nothing to do with my old life, the one that at that time is paining me so much.
In these worlds, it doesn’t matter how many followers I have or how much money I’m making. I’m not afraid of bumping into anyone and I don’t care if my apartment has all of the amenities because there’s no one I feel like I need to impress.
If you’ve never thought about this before, I know it sounds crazy, but you really can up and leave. You really can start over. No matter what. You literally can do whatever you want. Literally and actually whatever!
You can change every single aspect of your life. This daydreaming exercise frees me because it gives me perspective. As I’m sitting with my fears and anxieties, it feels magical to think that at one bold decision and one one-way ticket, they could all be gone.
Of course, what you’re left with at the end of this exercise is you. This exercise opens the door to a whole slew of questions that will change your life if you use them correctly.
Do I even like what I do? Do I even like who I’m with? Do I even like where I am? And most importantly, do I even like myself?
If there is any hesitation to any of the above, you know where your work begins.
Nothing is permanent and the only thing in this world that you need to be is your authentic self. That means what you would do, who you would be, and where you would be if you stepped into this alternate universe where you could do whatever you want, because yours is the only opinion that matters.
How much would you change? What would you keep? What would you do more of? What would you let go of?
You’ve heard the phrase, and maybe by this point it’s crossed your mind: You can’t run away from your problems. In most ways, I agree. When you’re unhappy inside, simply changing locations will not fix it. However, when you’re able to look at your life and play this game of running away, you get to learn about yourself.
Learning about yourself is most of the work of building the path to happiness. When you learn that you actually don’t like the job you’re doing, then you can change it! When you learn that you actually don’t like the people you’re with, then you’ll find people who are your match!
When you go in first and dream about what you would do if there were no rules, eventually you’ll see that there are in fact no rules! You can do those things you dreamed of and you should start today!
I think you should try this. I think you should try this because any opportunity to dream and get closer to your soul is one that you must never pass up. When you come down from the dream, you might learn that you actually love your life and you wouldn’t change it. Or you might learn that there are one or two things that if you’re finally being honest with yourself, could use an upgrade. Or you might learn that you feel so far from your soul’s desires that it’s time for a complete overhaul. Either way, wouldn’t you want to know?
I’m not saying you should, but what would you do if you believed that you could always run away.