“I find my calm not at the finish line looking back, but rather as I am: on the run, out of breath, chasing something eternal”
– Vanessa Rousso
People chase this idea their entire lives. The idea of the perfect resting place, filled with a spouse, 2.5 kids, and a retriever. From birth, you are told you need to do this and that. Good grades to a job to a family – The End. You’ve reached the finish line, time to rest. Now what?
This idea is so ingrained into the minds of the masses, there is no escaping, ever. You don’t want kids? Too bad. You don’t think school is for you? Too bad. This sense of finality has overwhelmed me my whole life. For most, this is the greatest thing that can be accomplished in life, this family and security. What about the rest? Are we wrong?
This is the question I asked myself in my adult years. I spent my high school days secluded, I thought and acted differently. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want to find my calm at the finish line. When I started out on my own I floundered and flopped and failed. I had all these crazy ideas and schemes of how I was going to make my life work the way people wanted it to. I even believed it was what I wanted for a short period because it was a sense of normalcy, calmness. I grew restless and angry and I fell. Hard.
It was only recently that I found my peace or at least a road to peace, and it’s covered with potholes and steep hills. A road most would intelligently avoid because it’s clearly a bumpy road. For me, those potholes are bumps to go 4x4ing over and those hills are like roller coasters. Hard to get up but damn is the ride down fun. This moment of clarity happened in a most unusual way. A single person, who I’ve never met and probably never will even speak to changed my life with a simple message. Her words affected me not because I saw her as this goddess of perfection, but because she found her place, not by fitting into this mold that’s expected, but by following her own idea. This idea that not everyone has to go to the finish line to be happy. Some of us are just happy racing. And again, this idea was the spark I needed, it was confirmation that I didn’t have to figure everything out now, or ever, it was the idea that I could be happy, “on the run, out of breath, chasing something eternal.” And so I am.