Go to school, work hard, get a good job, buy a nice house, take a two week vacation, retire, take a year long vacation, die.
That is the introduction from a guest post written by Jamie from The Great Big Scary World. When I read it for the first time, some three weeks ago, many thoughts crossed my mind. Thoughts about my own life. Thoughts that made me want to write this article. These 100 characters were the perfect description of the whirlpool of my life, of the life I was supposed to live.
Whirlpool. Or rail tracks. A life you didn’t really choose, which is hard to get out of . You know what I mean. Seriously, my life was in automatic mode until I was like 22, more or less. Listening, following, letting it flow, not worrying about it. Not even knowing life. In one word, asleep. Happy though, but unconsciously, or ignorantly. I can’t recall the exact moment something struck me. Some time after my 22nd birthday, for sure. A few weeks later, in July maybe. Anyway. Not relevant.
The relevant stuff is that something struck me. Not like a lightning, not like an “ah-ha” moment, not like an idea that crossed my mind and changed my life from that moment. It was as if you were waking up in the morning, on a Sunday morning, naturally, without an alarm clock, no stress, no pressure, regaining consciousness slowly. You still want to sleep a little bit more. You’re eyes are still shut. But you’re not asleep anymore. You just feel good.
You then realize you’re not going to fall asleep again. You still keep your eyes shut, trying to force yourself to get asleep again, thinking about random stuff that crosses your mind. Sometimes you re-open your eyes. Sometimes you re-close them. Time passes. It still feels good.
Until you realize that you didn’t even realize that you now got your eyes open all the time. You are just staring blindly at the ceiling, rainbows and unicorns running in your mind.
And then you want to wake up. You need to wake up.
I remember the day I woke up. It was one week before the windy Monday of January I talked about in this previous article. You never remember when you wake up as in the not-really-sleeping-anymore-but-still-closing-your-eyes type of wake up, but you always remember when you wake up as in now-I’m-going-to-put-my-clothes-on wake up.
So I put my clothes on, that day of January. Since July I had known that I wasn’t going to fall asleep again, but since that day of January, I was sure I was going to do a long-term trip on my own, no matter what.
And on a typical Sunday morning, you go outside, later in the morning. But first you need to shower, drink some coffee and eat some breakfast. That was what I was doing in San Francisco for the 6 months preceding my trip, showering, drinking coffee and eating breakfast. Preparing myself to go out of the house, the house of my education, the house of my parents, the house of the life I was supposed to live. I was really excited, for I knew this was going to be the first Sunday morning of the rest of my life, and it wasn’t going to be a regular Sunday anymore, it was my Sunday, the one I chose for myself.
During my trip from San Francisco to the border town of San Ysidro, my pace was fast. I was impatient to get out of that house. I arrived in San Ysidro, hopped out of the trolley, and followed the Mexicans crowd, by foot. I could see, far away, a huge green-white-red flag proudly floating over Tijuana. I wanted to go there.
Between two huge gray and sad walls I walked. “MEXICO” was written in front of me. This was the door. I knew it. The door to the outside world.
I walked through it.