Sometimes I wish we could press pause and simply take a break from life. Having some sort of version of freedom. No deadlines, and no schedules. No responsibilities, no expectations – from us or from others. Our basic needs would be the only compass guiding our days – we eat when we get hungry, sleep when we feel tired, and wake up when rested. In between that, we could do everything we wanted. That would be dreamy. Having the chance to do that for a prolonged time. I suppose that’s what one could do when taking time off work. But that’s so limited. You always think about what’s awaiting you when you are back. The time is always too short. Never enough. Where’s the freedom in that?
I used to look at the ocean when I was little as the gateway to another world. I remember sitting in the sand in Portugal, contemplating the line on the horizon and thinking how on the other side, far away, across the Atlantic Ocean, there was a whole new continent, a country so much different to mine, where people spoke a different language, had a different time zone, drank coffee from paper cups. I remember thinking when I grew up I would like to move there, or at least travel there. In truth, I wanted to travel everywhere. Everywhere where that ocean could take me plus everywhere else.
I keep thinking about whether I thought about work back then. I don’t think I did. I just had this idea that I wanted to be successful, I wanted to be good. In the same way, I was good at school. Thinking back, grades were some sort of reassurance. But, I realise now, these numbers were also defining my identity. I knew who I was back then – a kid doing what a good kid is supposed to do. Studying hard to do well. At the end of the day, grades defined who I was – a good student, and that automatically meant I was doing well, doing what was expected of me, and that my future would be, consequential, brilliant too.
Fast forwarding to now, and numbers continue to define me. How much I make, how much rent I pay, how much is in my bank account. Somehow, the bigger the number, the more successful you are supposed to be.
Because money is supposed to buy you freedom. That freedom is supposed to make you happy.
Now I find myself so tired in chase of this idea of success that has been so ingrained in me, that I feel depleted of whatever it was I was aspiring to be when I was younger. Sometimes it simply feels like I am a carcass, my flesh was long eaten by the vultures society imposed on me. It truly feels like I have lost track of myself. Simply don’t know who I am anymore. And I never really knew the meaning of this when I found it so many times described in the literature. But now I get it. And it’s terrible. Simply devastating.
My biggest fear is not being able to find myself anymore.
4 thoughts on “A little reflection from the bone”
Que tristeza é essa? tu não és assim, és coragem e sabedoria. Se eu pudesse mandava-te todas as flores do meu quintal para te animar. BEIJINHOS
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Obrigada Augusta 🙂 Está tudo bem, há dias em que a melancolia toma conta da alma, mas tudo passa e tudo fica bem!
I love this post the way you have written it. I can relate as well- I think the problem is that they keep telling us that money buys us freedom/time and therefore happiness but the reality is that most of don’t have the money to completely stop working that would allow us to find ourselves, do things we want to do etc.
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Thank you for your comment. It is hard sometimes to be able to find ourselves in the midst of such a demanding life!