Tuesday, 28 October 2008

defying gravity

"They think if people can possess enough things they will be content to live in prison." Le Guin, The Dispossessed

"They were intelligent; they were beautiful; they were grimly determined not to be sucked back into a routine; and they were a challenge to all who met them." James A Michener, The Drifters

"Freedoms are not only the primary ends of development, they are also among its principal means." Amartya Sen
Some people are motivated by the idea of making a real, meaningful difference or of living a good life. I don't know if I am. I don't think I am. I don't spend that much time worrying about why I do things. At least less time than I spend enjoying the doing and the being; the living.

Many people talk about taking the plunge, about giving it all up and buying a bar on a beach. For most people it's just the idle dream of a lazy afternoon. For a few, it's more than that. Some of them are driven and energized by the tantalising idea just beyond their reach - so close that they can almost taste it.

Most of them never do it. Through fear or a sense of duty or a sense that they are trapped and simply cannot escape, most of those who would really, honestly like to give it all up and follow their dreams never end going. It's sad to think of all those missed dreams. And the frustrations.

Some days I think they should just stop talking and do it. But I know it's not that simple. It's not that easy. Taking flight means letting go of everything and trusting that there will be something stronger than gravity. It's not rational and well-thought-out. It's not a normal thing to do.

I'm very aware of just how hard it is. Of just how hard it will be. At the moment that excites me. I may never own my dream car or live in a fancy house. I may never reach the top of my profession. Those are not just idle materialistic trappings. They represent a lifestyle and a way of being that is hard to give up. Choosing not to have and not to care is a choice to sacrifice. It's a choice to reject routine and security for the massive risk and incredible exhilaration of hope and freedom.

I'm thrilled by the idea that I'll be one of the few who gets to take the risks, to leave the security of knowing how far you can fall, to take flight - into an empty sky.

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