Afraid of change / Afraid of staying the same
"Look closely at the present you are constructing:
it should look like the future you are dreaming."
I have a fantasy. One that stirs in me every time I pass a café or sandwich shop with a “Help Wanted” sign in the front window. The fantasy has taken a few different shapes over the years, but generally goes like this: I sell my record collection, I change my name, I leave my friends and family and apartment and job behind without announcement — to try a new life, a completely new way of being me. That help wanted sign gets me wondering about all the ways there is to make a life, to spend one’s time. I could choose to disappear, and nothing and everything would be different.
Time is the ultimate luxury, the most important resource we have. Who do we spend our time with? Which books will we read? Where do we allocate our energy? There’s a string of precious minutes speeding away from me like a fast car filled with all the things I want to do, or to know, or things I’m missing out on while I’m choosing something else.
I'm told that “freedom-seeking” is a characteristic common to folks born under the Sagittarius sun sign. But, contrary to my escapist fantasies, my life is rooted in permanence. I've been at a job I truly love for five years. I've been with a partner I adore for eight. I've lived in my apartment for nearly four years and counting. I make books — real books made with paper — what could be more permanent than that?
I always assumed I’d grow out of this innate restlessness. That the fantasties would subside as I settled into my thirties. But now more than ever I feel two very different people inside me pulling and pushing, negotiating terms for balance, for peace of mind. They say, you need us both. They say, you cannot choose only one way to feel. They say, find joy in seeking, instead of shame.
There's pressure to fill our moments with things that are meaningful — but what's the most meaningful? Starting a family, or caring for an aging one? Experiencing art or producing it? Filling our days with laughter and good company or finding space to be with ourselves? Experiencing new things or establishing roots? Planning for the future or living for Right Now?
You might say that all of those things are important. Or that we should look within to find the things we need most, because it's different for everyone. But what if I want both, all of it, all the time? It’s an impossible wish.
Which is why it helps me to hold space for the fantasy. To leave it all, to start again, to press the reset button where all possibilities become possible again.
As the year comes to an end, I feel eager (read: restless) for the new year. Instead of reflecting on what has passed, I prefer to look ahead to what’s coming next. Because for me, what hasn’t even happened yet is the most exciting/fulfilling/best thing I’ve ever done.
What do you
look forward to?
With/out Pretend pins!
We made pins out of our icon, created by Tallulah Fontaine! Two lilies, one blooming and one wilting, inspired by Janus, the Roman god of transitions who looks into the future and the past with equal attention.
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If you want to be a part of the work we do at With/out Pretend, click here to get more information on what we’re looking for.