As I grow older, memories of a younger life start to fade. The clarity with which I remember the days of my youth slowly dims. I think I recognise who that child was but I can’t be sure. He seems different to the man he became.
Did he always wonder if there was more to life? Was he ever the restless child with a desire to explore? Was it obvious that he wanted to do things differently from an early age?
They say that everything is predetermined from the day that we’re born. Our character, our personality, the traits we display.
If so, this child was born to wander but I know this wasn’t always the case.
A different version of myself
The younger me was far too sensible, with something of a conventional mindset. Rules were there to be followed and life was lived according to established norms and traditions. Holidays were taken in set locations – the UK early on, then Spain as time passed, and always in the summer months of June or July.
My parents worked regular jobs. My friends came from regular families. We lived on a regular housing estate. My world was the size of a small southern English town. Over time, that town’s borders might grow to encompass neighbouring communities but the unseen boundaries always remained firmly in place.
I had my comfort zone and I was happy with that. It gave me everything I needed. I was content to follow the status quo.
My parents travelled further afield before I was born but decided that home was where the heart is – and their hearts were given to the town I grew up in. The idea of packing up ours lives and relocating, whether it was to another county or country, was beyond them – and beyond me. I could not contemplate such a thing.
I was an introvert, self-conscious and sensitive. Not the qualities you’d expect of someone with itchy feet, bored by the world around them and the expectations made by others of the way they should live their life.
Your parents aren’t to blame
You can’t always blame your parents for the way you turn out. Equally, you can’t assume your parents are responsible for how you didn’t turn out.
Why wasn’t I content with settling down with the girl next door? Why didn’t I travel and then return home to an established career just like my friends? Why couldn’t I be happy with a long life in that southern English town?
I don’t know why.
Maybe something lay dormant over the years biding its time. Maybe the day I was born was the day my future lay written before me. Or maybe something changed.
Somehow, at some time, I realised that I wanted and needed more. I craved adventure. I lost my fear of the unknown. But I grew fearful of the lack of possibilities. I wanted a better life to the one mapped out before me. Something innate kicked in and set me down this path. I needed to reinvent myself and create possibilities for a life that would be different.
Not special, just different. And better for me and mine.
I was also the victim of circumstance – that aligning of the planets that brought certain people and situations to a head, resulting in a chain of events that led me to this point and place.
You are the way you are
I sometimes wonder if I’m cursed. If other people like me are cursed.
Why can’t we be happy with the way we’re born? Why can’t we accept our lot in life and tread a path that might not always bring intense joy but will always brings a sense of comfort and certainty?
People from all walks of life – some successful, others less so, entrepreneurs, business owners, professionals and tradespeople – decide to stay put and do what they do best. No-one says you have to move away and move on. While it feels right for some, it might feel unnecessary for others.
Sometimes I despise myself for the uncertainty that my life choices bring. I rue the day I quit the former ‘me’ and I wonder if it was worth it, if this ‘better life’ was worth it.
Yet it has to be.
Still, I can’t help asking why I’m not like other people living a regular life and why I continue to follow the call of something less ordinary?
I could have been born to roam. My personality may have lent itself to change, to unpredictability, to spontaneity. I might have wanted to prove a point to myself that I could do this, determined to follow one of my dreams.
I don’t know the answer to this.
All I do know is that I am the way I am. And it’s not my parents’ fault.
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In my next post, something special and different. My exclusive interview with Torah Bright, Olympic gold medal snowboarder and all-round Australian champion on her own extraordinary life and ultra-positive approach to it.