You Will Never Be Free Until You Escape Your Old Life And Start A New One

by Lauren Martin

Having rights and the ability to inhale and exhale doesn’t mean you’re free.

Hell, having a house and can spend money doesn’t mean you’re not enslaved. Thousands of prisoners walk alongside us every day, their chains and shackles unseen by the naked eye.

They are carrying weights, bars and insurmountable pressure on the top of their frail shoulders. They are slowly sinking under the load, their backs now arched and rounded after years of burden and regret have melted into their skin, dripping down to their cores.

What happened to these people? How did they become so weighed down? When did they give up their freedom? When did they become so submissive, so subservient? When did they fall victim to the chains and shackles of the prison they call life?

Unfortunately, they did it to themselves. Like an accomplice to murder, their sentence came for bearing witness to a crime they could have stopped.

The trial awaited at the end of the long chase to catch up with themselves. Their plea was that they didn’t realize what was happening. They thought there would be time, that someone else would come and intervene.

Unfortunately, like a judge sentencing a defendant with a long record, there is no mercy for your negligence. There is no pardon for your naivety. You saw something happening, you could have done something and you didn’t. End of story. Life is prison.

Your prison isn’t made up of cells and bars, but regret, misery and inauthenticity. It can’t be seen or traveled to, it must be lived through, day after day. You will eat, sleep and live just like a prisoner. You will be forced into walls of your own small dimensions and huddled into white rooms of solitary confinement.

You will go crazy, scratching at the concrete, scaling the wires and counting tiles. Unfortunately, you will never escape unless you drop everything and run away to a city where you know no one.

It’s your ticket out, your prison map and the only thing that will possibly get you parole. Because the only way to get out of jail is to escape it. You must walk out of it, alone, the same way a prisoner does after 50 years: ready to start over again, be someone else, change everything.

However, you must be ready to leave jail, a notion that’s much easier to internalize than actualize. Like Stockholm Syndrome, many of us get used to our captors, our pain, our lives in prison.

We get used to the routine, find comfort in it. We become attached to our new way of life and the pain that comes with it. Our prison, no matter how torturous and horrible it is, is our home. And leaving home is always hard.

We start forgetting about the idea of escape. We stop trying to dig holes and knock down walls. We forget what we wanted in the first place, as we let this new setting of inauthenticity and numbness become the only place we want to know.

But we can’t forget. We must remember that we will only be happier if we take the plunge. If we take the risk, run as fast as we can and gamble everything, we'll be free one day. This freedom will only come when you move away. It will only come when you leave everyone and everything you know and begin again.

Complete Anonymity Is The Best Autonomy

There’s liberation in solitude. Many people don’t realize it, but the main oppressors in our lives are usually the ones who care about us.

Anchored down by the plans, ideas and judgments of those around us, we become slaves to the opinions of others. Having to live up to their standards, conform to their ideals and follow their preconceived notions, there is no room on the crowded path to follow the kind of life we want to live.

When you leave everyone behind, head to a place where no one knows your name, let alone your background, all of your pressures, plans and commitments are only to yourself.

You have no obligations to anyone, no limitations but your own. You are released from the burden of others, the crushing weight of all their demands and opinions.

Having old friends and lots of family is comforting but, like Xanex or Oxycodone, are addictive and debilitating.

Mistakes Are To Be Made, No Longer Regretted

All your mistakes and regrets seem trivial the moment they are 50 miles away from you. No one knows what your nudes look like, your blackout in the local pub isn’t whispered about in the local supermarket, and your high school love can’t drive past your house screaming about how you cheated on him.

Your mistakes are silly stories the second you can’t see them outside your kitchen window. They are stupid things that led you to where you are now, rather than the reason you are still at home, drowning in the regrets of them all.

Starting over where no one knows you, in a city where you don't know one road, is the best way to wipe the slate clean. It’s the only way to rid yourself of all those reminders and people who just won’t let you forget.

New Personas Are The Best Personas

If you recreate yourself, you will never again have to live with that person you hate: your old self.

It’s time to let that person go, the person with all the mistakes and regrets. It’s time to shed the skin of your bruised, burned and torn old version.

There’s nothing wrong with starting again and trying again. No one says you can’t move towns and give yourself another name and another passion. This is your round two, your second shot.

If you didn’t like the last person you were, starting off somewhere where no one can recognize you is the only way to pull off your new makeover.

We are constantly belittled by the childhood version of ourselves that people just can’t let go. They know all our fears, regret and past mistakes. They hold the past above us, like a sadistic guard, holding a gun to our temples. They throw us in a small room, and lock us there.

They’ve created a version of us that we’re not allowed to escape. Moving away takes away those boundaries everyone has put around you. You can be whoever you want, no longer a version of you they refuse to let grow up.

There's More Room To Grow And Find Your True Self

A new setting gives you the space you need to explore yourself. You are reinvigorated with the newness of new land and new opportunity. Only when you step outside of yourself and your old surroundings can you clearly see what you really want and need to be fulfilled.

A new place offers new job opportunities, new people to inspire and a new view on life.

Without leaving home, there is no room to search for the true versions of ourselves. There’s no space to explore every small part of ourselves that people aren’t ready to see.

Moving away gives you a new environment to test your limits, new people to encourage and inspire you, and absolutely nothing to inhibit you.

You can explore those passions you were embarrassed to try around your friends and family and watch new interests grow and cultivate around a place that serves as the blank canvas for your increasingly colorful life.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It