Too Much Freedom
What do you do when you can do anything?
What do you think when you can think anything?
With whom do you spend your time when you can spend it with anyone?
How do you define boundaries for yourself when you were brought up in a culture hell bent on casting them aside?
They say great people insist on forever drawing outside the lines. And that this is a good thing. But sometimes bad. It all depends, really. Where even are the lines anymore?
When there are no rules, no limitations, and limitless freedom both in body and mind, where does one even begin to lay the foundations for a project or a family or a community?
Go to school, or don't. Have a family, or don't. Question everything, always.
These are questions I've been asking of late. Writing about the bike adventure and life in general has coalesced once rambling, jumpy, zippy, cloud-like thoughts into something...real? Definable? Workable? Understandable?
Not quite sure yet.
Without much work, internet, or screen time these past few months, questions such as these won't give me a moment's peace. I love it. I think I've gotten quite a bit wrong this last decade-and-a-half and can say, with complete honesty, that whenever my ferociously held beliefs change radically I find it exhilarating.
I can truly say I've designed my life from scratch. I wanted what I believe most want. Limitless freedom. Anything less is unacceptable. But like anything that sounds too good to be true, this fight and its spoils have their dark sides.
I don't travel for travel's sake. I travel because the very act fits nicely into a lifestyle built upon breaking barriers and refusing to be caged into anything, anywhere. Not only geographically, but also psychologically. The exposure to other cultures, other climates, other languages, other ways of life, other foods, community structures, norms, expectations, behaviors – everything – has only served to melt away any self-imposed limits on what I perceive these barriers to be.
Get married and have a family. Go live in the suburbs, said they, to which I responded, Poppycock! That doesn't sound like any fun! What else is out there? Certainly others have figured out another way.
A little bit of digging led me to this: If you don't like your culture or its rules, go find one you do like, it's out there! It's possible now! What a great time to be alive!
I still believe this.
What I'm struggling with now is that the people I love don't inhabit the cultures I love. And it is, indeed, a struggle. I'm getting messages, even from those I never thought would take a side, to keep quiet and play ball. Stick around and be mature. Don't rock the boat. Suffer a little so they don't have to. Do “normal” stuff even though you don't want to. It's the kind, loving thing to do.
I certainly want to be kind and loving.
This is a huge problem for me right now. I've gotten so free, so liberated, and so curious I'm spinning out of control. There's no true north. No anchor. No steadfast societal – or even self-imposed – norms. It's confusing.
On the one hand there's the “be true to yourself at all costs” crowd. They have a point. On the other there's the “don't be a dick, just forgive people and put up with shit you don't like and everyone will be happier” crowd. I agree with them, too.
Right now, there is nothing I can't do. These are quite possibly the most beautiful words I've ever put to paper. But also the scariest.
When there's nothing you can't do sometimes the feeling is too good. It backfires and you end up doing nothing at all.
Looking forward to exploring these ideas more in the coming months/years and even arranging travel specifically to explore them. As an artist I believe art can come from anywhere and anything can become art. Even one's life.
What would a life as art look like? Should be fun. But, then again, maybe not.