It's nothing new for me and some people around me that I react very sensibly to some things in my life. recently I asked myself more than once why.
I was never really good at coping when things were expected of me that didn't feel right. And who doesn't know it? For some reason, one finds themselves in a situation where one has to act in a certain way to: not stand out in a negative way, please others, suffice society...
I'm not talking about things like compulsory school attendance which, once one has to oblige, often feels like a punishment, however is really a privilege. Also I'm not talking about taxes, the following of laws and rules. Of course there is a general expectation that I, for example, don't run red lights, pay my bills on time and so on. But that's not what I'm talking about.
No, I'm talking about expectations that come to us out of the blue and with which we find ourselves confronted without warning. Often delivered by persons or in situations that completely take us by surprise.
To be more specific: it has been troubling me for quite some time now that apparently, there are some social expectations about how a life - also my life - has to be. A little exaggerated: Birth, kindergarten, school, apprenticeship or college. Then, one is allowed to be "young and wild" for a year (meaning it's okay to go to New Zealand for three months, or to Australia, or any other country where the structures of society is just enough different from home to notice, yet not so much that it makes you think), after that, one starts working at a job right away or goes to college first and THEN picks up a job, now however with a salary that won't let the additional years of studying look like a waste of time. In the mean time: Finding a partner, the first apartment, marriage, kids, home ownership. Vacations in Summer and Winter. Later on: The pension, "enjoying the later years". Grandchildren (for one's own kids are living exactly the same way as well), residence for the elderly, exodus. At the funeral, touching words are spoken like "he was a good father and family man" and some priest who hasn't been in touch with reality for decades will bless the whole clan. After, it's off to the next public house where one will be drinking to and get drunk off the deceased, then home and back into the big wheel of life.
I've been to funerals. Some were of good friends who were taken by tragical accidents, some of elder people who could look back on a long life. More than once I asked myself: Why is no one ever talking about that person's LIFE? Why do we never hear things like: "She never got married, did whatever sprang into her mind, opened a Tiki-Bar on the Canarian Islands when she was 42 and spent ten happy years surfing and dealing out alcohol. Then she moved on to Scotland, learned how to cut peat and how do distill liquor in her own garage and then died at the age of 76 of methanol poisoning right next to her condenser?"
I for one would celebrate such a life. Not because it would be a life for me but because it sounds like a life where fulfillment of it was of the highest priority. To be happy, to do what you want, what interests and inspires you. Is there a greater ode to joy than that?
Instead, I can picture the wake. Small, not to raise any attention. An announcement in the local newspaper. "She died way too young of a tragic accident".
That's what could be said about any base jumper dispersing themselves widely spread over the cliffs above Interlaken. I'll just go as far and say that this phrase just means that, in the opinion of the bereaved, the deceased left before they could fulfil the expectations of others...
I'm 35 now and I only have a vague idea of what I want in my life. Simply for the reason that so far, I've more or less done whatever I wanted - in most cases. I wanted to become a professional athlete, I wanted to own a company, I wanted and want to work in that company, I want to go back to professional sports. I want to live in a place where I feel at home, where I feel good in my hills and woods, where I like to get up in the morning and also going to bed in the evening.
I do NOT want, however, to do anything because "that's just the way it is". Each and every time when I found myself complying to such things, it ended in an epic, personal catastrophe. And when I learnt something in the past years, it's the following: I don't just must. I also may.