My life is about to radically change.
This is not a surprise – we’ve been planning this for four years. In fact, it wasn’t going to take us that long. In the space of just one year, we were going to leave the hustle and bustle of a British city for the beauty and quiet of the Tirolean Alps. Three times a year for four years we’ve escaped to our great big house in the mountains, and each time we’ve come back to work, earn more money, and save.
This time it’s different. This time we’re not coming back to work. This time, I’m going to have to work over there.
Suddenly I feel responsible
Even as I use that word I feel my stomach tighten, the pressure build in my head. Even though I’ve known this is coming for 4 years it’s still rushing up to me at a terrifying pace.
My dream has changed over the 4 years, I’ve embraced it, chased it, talked a lot about how wonderful it’s going to be. I’ve also rebelled against the responsibility, the finality of commitment to one thing, no matter how wonderful it may seem. I’ve felt the huge responsibility of having a dream.
What a strange thing to say, you might think. You may feel, as so many of my friends have, the same inspiration, excitement and hope I felt when we first bought the house. The feeling that anything is possible, that maybe you, too, could also escape the drudgery of the rat race, run away to somewhere beautiful.
And every time my friends latch onto what they see as my dream, each time someone does something extraordinary to help me achieve it (you know who you are – you’ve been wonderful, all of you), I’ve felt the responsibility of having to make it work.
More than once, I’ve felt like walking away
You see, running holiday apartments in the Alps isn’t my dream – it’s not my friends’ dream either. Being human (and British… that never helps), we aren’t easily able to express the deep desire to be free, to be ourselves, to navigate our own personal path to success. We feel but can’t put into words the excitement inside when we see another person stepping out of the trap and doing something unusual and daring with their life. We hold on tight to the feeling that maybe we, too, could achieve something incredible.
We latch onto other people’s dreams as a lifeline, we feel the excitement of watching them achieve something extraordinary and we see what we need to see: a person setting themselves free.
But, and this is the weird thing, the responsibilities follow you into your dream! The pressures, the stories, the need to “earn”, to find fulfilling friendships, spaces for personal growth… they’re still all there, but now they’re polarised because so much of the familiarity is gone.
It’s not the city you’re trying to escape, not your job… it’s YOU, and your stories of scarcity and victimhood, feelings of being trapped.
Equally, YOU is what you most desire to be, not the country, the beach, or jetting around the world. They’re bonuses, and should be chased at every available opportunity if they are what you love, but they’re not the Dream.
Of course I’m excited about moving – there’s so much there I love. But the story behind it has changed over these last four years. The excitement is different. The move has already happened – inside. I’m no longer escaping, I’m going on a journey with Myself.