When I was a small child, I would periodically run away from home.
Allow me to explain.
When I say “run away from home,” I should probably make clear that I mean I would run away from the main body of collective rooms that is commonly called a “house,” and traverse the eight, child size steps across the green wooden veranda of our back porch, and into the eternally stuffy small shed where my Dad’s tools, a faded pink skateboard with a palm tree printed on it, and our cat Chester would sleep. The shed was magic. Cobwebs collected on windows which were never cleaned and cast a soft light across the two metre by two metre cluttered galaxy, where dust particles floated in ever changing constelations and once I had arrived, with tears of frustration welling up in tired brown eyes, I would sit cross legged on the floor and unpack my small napsack of belongings.
I wished I was a bit like Blinky Bill when I was younger, and so I would pack in a scarf a few pairs of knickers, some swimming togs, and my tooth brush and swinging the pack over my shoulder in the kitchen before I left I would pour some milk into a small bottle for the journey. Packing togs may have seemed a little hopeful, and I never really thought about the pros and cons of taking milk as opposed to water, but sullen and stubborn, blond culrls bouncing with grumpy steps I would wish my Mother and Father a solemn farwell at the back door, and leave without looking back.
Goodbye, cruel World.
I usually lasted nothing more than a few hours in the shed. Maybe an hour at the most to be completley honest before Chester would grow weary of my encroaching on his space, as cats do, and I would grow weary of the distance I had placed between myself and my Barbie dolls… and before long… I would sneak back across the porch in the evening sun past our Venus Fly Trap and take a backalley route through the house to my room. Where a little later, once the bruises on my pride had faded, Mum would come in and sit on my bed, and talk with me to tend to the problems of the six year old universe in my head.
The desire to run doesn’t really ever go away entirely I don’t think, at least for me it hasn’t, but I am still very young. Sometimes I confuse a longing for adventure, with an unhappiness with the present state of circumstances or, worse still; with an apathy towards attempting to getting stuck in and changing those circumstances, or my attitude towards them. Sometimes I worry about going on holiday, because the last time I did go somewhere new; I never went home, but instead made a new one here in Melbourne. And other times I get so frustrated with everything, that I just wish to go away again and start new. I think if we’re to be honest with one another, we all do. I thought last night about how funny it is that some days we will be so protective and attached to our belongings; like a lioness protecting her cubs growling at any prospect of change or disruption to what we know. Yet, at other times… even within the span of a single day, we can look with disdain at the material representation of our existence, with no attachment whatsoever to the things which are, in their way, a physical extension of ourselves.
I still on occasion wish life could be so simply solved by running away to my garden shed, but at twenty two what I can atriculate that I could not at age six is this: it can’t. Running away can never fix things, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move or be open to change; geographically and in other aspects of life too, but it does mean we need to question and examine our motives for such change. When I was six I ran, or rather tottled, away because I was overwhelmed and thought nothing would ever be good again in the place I was in, so I figured if I removed myself from that place… then I would be okay. That the redness in my cheeks and puffyness in my eyes would subside, and I would be happy again, “when I was a child, I thought like a child.” But before long, every time I did give up and run, I found out that it doesn’t work that way. That though I was in a different place, I was still myself… and that all my beat up poutyness had snuck in somewhere with my togs and toothbrush, and had followed me. I found the truisim is in fact, funnily enough, true that “wherever you go – there you are.”
One of my favourite quotes is by a man named Robert Frost who says that “the best way out is always through,” and I want that to be true of my life. That I went through things.
Through all the fires of life that guaranteeably come… and that I came through them better off. Shaking of the cinders of my circumstances, and gleaming like gold in the light and hope of the future that is to come.
Because (you’re gonna have to go with me a hundred per cent on the metaphor here), I’ve never heard of anyone, who got anywhere by running.