“I hate [this city]. It’s a trap. Everyone is trapped,” she said. I was taking shelter from the rain in the small convenience store where she made her living behind the counter. It was empty and we started to chat.
“Then why don’t you leave?” I asked.
“Because once you’re here, you can’t get out.”
“Well, where would you go if you could leave this place?”
“I would go to Greece. I would travel to Crete where life is simpler and I would experience the world.”
“So what’s stopping you?”
“I’m telling you, this place is a trap. People get stuck here forever. They lose their jobs and live off of welfare. They get checks every week and buy all the things they want. They sit there with their Xbox, 50 inch flat screen TV, cable, internet, and a couch. They’re happy with that.”
I paused for a second. “But isn’t there more to life than just existing?”
“I guess these people don’t see it that way.”
She was young, probably in her early 30s. She hadn’t given up, but I had the feeling she was no longer really fighting. This place was a trap, and she accepted that.
“I can’t afford a car, so I can’t leave and find a better job in the city. I need money to travel. Plus, my parents and my boyfriend are here.”
“How would you feel if you never went to Greece? If you stayed here forever?”
“I’d be kicking myself.”
She told me that she was saving up to buy a house in [this town]. This confused me. Why would you spend your savings on something that’s going to tie you down to the place where you feel trapped? Something that’s going to make it nearly impossible to reach your dream?
We all feel trapped sometimes. Maybe it’s a town you just can’t escape, or school loans crowding your vision. It could be a career path you regret following, or a relationship you’re not satisfied with but afraid to end.
I thought I was trapped in the accounting career path. Then I realized that I was never trapped, I just couldn’t see past my own limits.
There is always a way. A trap is just a puzzle waiting to be solved.
There are plenty of resources to help you pay off your debts, travel the world, live your legend, and find the relationship you desire.
The question is, how badly do you want it? The world can be yours once you stop rationalizing that you don’t deserve it.
There is no excuse that makes it okay to settle in life.
A quote from one of my favorite movies, Into the Wild, explains this perfectly.
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”
As I walked out of the small convenience store, I turned back to the woman.
“For what it’s worth, you should do everything you can to go to Greece. If you really want it, there are steps you can take to get there.
Do it while you’re young or you’ll regret it forever. I think you can leave this trap behind and start living the adventure you’ve always dreamed of.”
And then, I realized, maybe it’s time for me to do the same.
Photo Cred: sdmania at FreeDigitalPhotos.net