You can’t see me but I am doing one of those stupid happy dances at my (my parents) desk. This is a big deal for me, not only have I achieved my dream of getting a van and converting it, I am actually going to drive it.

What this whole process has done is made me look at why I want to leave in the first place. Why do so many other people want to leave too? I tell them about my van and they exclaim in envy and ask “is there room for one more?”. We are lucky middle class (majority white) people with “the world at our fingertips”; why do we all want to escape so much?

During my masters we looked the perception of history and the passage of time. Cultural Anthropology studies how we as humans narrate and historicize ourselves, one particular theory is that history (arguable the measuring of time in historical events rather than a human lifespan) wasn’t really “felt” until after the significant events of the French Revolution. Previous to the epic bloodshed people could live whole lifetimes without something extraordinary happening, to live and die with no great change in government, no great war, just the seasons and the cycle of life and death (albeit with well more disease and little to no medical intervention). Fast forward to now, where on any given day we can absorb global political change, climate change, new discoveries in outer space and in our oceans from a 5 minute scroll on a news app and you see how we are hyper exposed to history. There is an expectation that we educate ourselves on all of this information, process it, yet still reserve enough time in our brains to emotionally mature and orchestrate a successful career (oh and play instruments and learn languages and look nice and stay healthy and keep in touch but not be too attached to our phones).

The world shifts in a second.

So where are we when the world shifts? A lot of the time we are sat doing pretty mundane things, I am at my (my parents) desk checking Facebook or researching leisure batteries, you are sat wherever you are reading this. But we feel like we should be doing more, a lot more, in fact a lot of the time we narrate our lives on social media so it looks like we are doing more. This leaves us in a weird position of guilt, this fast paced life is asking us to keep up, but most of the time we pretend to keep up while behind closed doors feeling bad about it. My generation – our generation – have been left with an unresolvable guilt for not doing enough. One job is not enough, one good photograph is not enough, one holiday is not enough, one set of clothes is not enough.

This is why I want to leave. I want the pressure of never feeling successful enough to go. I want to wear the same clothes for weeks on end (obviously still washing them) and not feel inadequate. It is my belief that once I stop feeling bombarded with societies lofty expectations of multilayered success, I will find one or two things that fully satisfy me. Rather than spinning the plates, I will just pick a few plates and eat from them.

Every person I speak to has anxiety. Ranging from a small amount surrounding our uncertain financial and political futures to full blown existential crises once a week. I believe our focus on an automatically updating feed of information adds to this exponentially and I want it to stop.

It got a bit deep there,

signing off to go dance some more




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