I stared at a blank space on the wall as my mind painted a very vivid picture of the places I’d rather be and the million other things I’d rather be doing. I wasn’t reaching for the most unlikely scenario, but one I used to be familiar with at least a few times a year pre-pandemic. The blank white wall was quickly coming together coloured with the paint of my imagination. A Deep blue blanket to colour the sun-kissed sky, a crowded plane aisle to strut through in search of the designated seat before jetting off to a final destination warm and relaxing, filled with memories yet to be made. A beautiful picture indeed that somehow felt too good to be true. Spoiler alert, it was.
My daydream lasted long enough for me to feel like I was missing out on something more fun when I was snapped back into reality by the message alert that rang a bit too loudly in my ear. I must have spaced out for not more than a minute, but it was hard to come to terms with the fact that I was still sat in that chair, with my fingers hovering over those keyboards as my eyes reluctantly shifted from the wall to the monitor in front of me. The notification was a message from my manager who was letting the team know the system issues were yet to be resolved and we just had to sit tight and wait for more updates.
I can’t say I was complaining about not having to work and still be paid, but the time was passing slower now that my hands were no longer busy, and I was grounded in the noise of an empty room. Whilst I was thinking about the several ways I could entertain myself, my silenced phone lit up against my face.
It was a message from an old friend I hadn’t talked to in a while, that type of friendship distance and circumstances may have changed and altered but with whom your past and precious memories will forever be tied and bound together. Where once upon a time, you’d just get right into your deepest feelings and darkest secrets, now you start with small talk and exchange pleasantries in a way that feels almost unnatural.
Hence, just like that, we picked up where we left off as we tried to fill in the gaps of our history we had both failed to witness. The more pieces of the puzzle of each other’s life we were able to fit together, the more naturally our conversation flowed again. The rhythm of our chat slowly felt familiar again as I somersaulted for a second into childhood memories when we would sneak our phones into church services and exchange cheeky thoughts from across the room. That was the height of our naughtiness so if you ask me, I’d say we were pretty good kids!
Somehow, we started talking about the future and our respective plans for it. Neither of us had ideas that were set in stone yet and I certainly had been feeling too stuck to have concrete plans anyway. I mean, the furthest I’d thought about my future was how I’d hate to have to readjust my mindset once the system for work was back up and running. I’d been in serious need of a holiday and the unexpected no-work-yes-pay situation felt heaven-sent and rather welcome.
I told him all about my non-existent plans, how my days had been mainly taken up by my restless work from home schedule and how I was finally starting to write again…
His answer was rather different from mine as it was also unexpected. He mentioned having a strong urge to drop everything he knows and owns to become a traveller. Yes, I’m sure at some point we have all wished we could travel the world for the rest of our time and have each chapter of our life scattered in nostalgic photographs and a million memories worth writing about, but this thought is usually one we brush off like a rogue strand of hair on our shoulder.
I could tell he was being serious. It didn’t seem to be a passing thought he had on occasion whilst procrastinating at work, but something he had been pondering on for a while.
He was sick of the status quo, of doing the same things over and over on repeat. I knew that feeling all too well. It’s like living your life like a song on constant loop; at first, it may sound just as great as the first time you heard it but play your favourite song nonstop for the rest of time and see if you’ll still love it the same after a little while.
I remembered how when growing up I always said I wouldn’t want to work a regular nine to five as an adult. Already then, the idea of living in a box that fits the capitalist agenda was something that gave me the creeps and twelve-year-old me had bigger plans. Fast forward a decade later when after graduation the reality of not having a nine to five was more frightening to me than anything else. I too suddenly wanted stability and a pocket full of money like everyone else who seemed to be moving up a level in this mad game. The nine to five started to look like it had a halo on it, and I wanted nothing more than a permanent contract with my name on it.
My friend and I talked about how hard it was to step out of the boxes that restrict us and tell us what a “good” life is. The truth is we live in a society that makes it so easy to fall in line as we fight for things we think we want but really don’t. It begs the question what would you do if you could do anything, and even more than that how much risk would take to get to your ideal life?
Adulting means coming face with harsher truths about the world that may not have burdened you as a teen. Okay, you’d rather spend your life travelling? Well, would you not need money to fund your lifestyle? Would you not need a world that is accessible for that to happen?
Maybe that train of thought is flawed too as there are so many people that do more with less and did all they could to escape the pre-determined structures and expectations society had built up for them. If you look at it that way, maybe twelve-year-old me was really unto something.
From my previous posts, I’m sure you could gather that I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to move forward and hopefully change my daily status quo. I’ve been learning about change whilst taking on hard lessons about setbacks and rejection that continue to force me to re-evaluate what my ideal life would look like and how much risk I’d be willing to take to have it.
My hopes of having a chill day at work (there’s no such thing!) was cut short when my manager sent a message to notify the systems were good to go, so I put my phone down, placed my hand on the mouse and did my best at work that day too.
Ever since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about that conversation so this Sunday as always, I thought I’d share with you what’s been on my mind. I am looking forward to finding out where my choices will take, who my friend and I will become and how many chances we’ll take in this life. I guess we’ll have to live it up to find out!
Your restless romantic roamer
Click here to read more posts from the ON SECOND THOUGHT series