I’m willing to bet that even the most down-to-earth person has at some point sat back and reveled in the proverbial daydream of starting a different life where no one know their name—basically the “I should just get up and leave!” mindset that tempts us in times of stress or boredom. However, I’m also willing to bet that the majority of time, they rationalize to themselves all the reasons that they can’t. Then they shake the thought from their minds and go on with their normal lives.
I think of them as “tethers:” all the aspects of your life which keep you firmly linked to your current world and snap you out of these lazy daydreams. Some of them are self-inflicted, like the choice to spend more than you have and end up a slave to loans and debt. Some are simply a part of 21st century life—try to fall into a dreamy reverie of travelling the world and sending cryptic postcards without wondering at least a little about your cell phone!
Along with these come the things that are technically beyond your control, but hold an irreplaceable spot in your heart. You might think of our devotions to our families as a lighter Stockholm Syndrome, although they might not take to that very kindly!
It’s hard to know just how many tethers we should have before that liberty to “run” into a new world disappears. After all, the right kinds of tethers can and should make your current world a beautiful place to be! Most people want at least a few special souls to keep by our sides, be they wives or husbands, best friends or siblings, mothers or children. Whether they’re adventurous or our patient voices of reason, they can even provide new wide-eyed outlooks on the places you will someday wander.
I’m not advocating running away from your problems or from any of your commitments. I simply believe in the innate curiosity of humans, the curiosity that makes us want to run toward something new. To this extent, we need to tether ourselves to our current worlds wisely, so that we always have room to grow.