Look Who’s Finally Growing Up

by Amelia Kanan

Remember a year and a half ago when I was ready to live on the grid?

I was over my transient life. My lack of connection to the “real world”. I didn’t want to be the odd one out anymore, the one who was along for the ride, the one who lived just a little differently then everyone else.

Well, here I am. It’s been a year and I’ve come home to the same home, every day. Slept in the same bed. Every night. I have multiple jobs that require constant attention, consistent commitment and a lot of my time. I was so distracted with all the busy-ness that I failed to realize the structure I put around myself. I have created a pretty stabilized life.

Something I wanted to achieve. Something that I left California to find. Something that I felt was the first step in gaining the true things I want out of life.

However, naturally, once I realized the structure that I created…I saw the walls, the ceiling, the box, the cell. I freaked out a little bit. Last week, there was a day I couldn’t breathe. I mean, I was breathing or else I would be dead but, I wasn’t breathing like I normally do. My breaths were shallow, my sinuses seemed congested and I wanted to flee.

Thankfully, I have someone to talk to about things like this. And in this conversation, not only was my breath pattern reset but I realized the windows, doors and skylights that existed within the structure I had created. There was sunlight, fresh air and openings to escape. I also began to see escape as a state of mind, as opposed to the extreme way in which I have always seen it and lived it. I can feel free while existing in the same space. And how committing to something can actually spur a new sort of escape.

People say I’m brave but the truth is, I’m not. I seemed courageous because the risks I’ve taken were things that those people were afraid of but I myself wasn’t necessarily scared of those things. Seeing fear in other people’s eyes made me feel like I was brave. I’m not afraid of being alone or death really but rather, monotony, accountability, trusting in someone else other than myself and most importantly, vulnerability. So, really I’ve been terrified and avoiding a job that wasn’t flexible, buying a house, getting married, having a baby and living a life that required my presence daily.

That freakout I had over existing in a cage only stayed with me for a day. Just one day. Then I snapped back to reality and saw how free my daily life still is. My freedom and sense of adventure just looks different now. My jobs, which I love, give me a great sense of freedom, exploration, adventure, escape and discovery. Walls and a ceiling are pretty nice, they keep me warm, calm and safe and just because they’re there doesn’t mean I can’t go outside and feel free all day long.

Changing my perspective has helped change the way I see a relationship or commitment to someone else. No longer do I see it as something that holds you back, stops you from being who you are or limits your freedom but actually enhances it, makes it more fun, exciting and helps you strive to be your truest, best self.

Just this past weekend I was asked a question that I am often asked by people here, in Michigan. “Do you miss California?” My response over the past year has been the same every single time because I truly felt this way. “Just the people. My friends. But, I’m really loving my life here, everyone I meet and all the projects I’m working on.”

However, last weekend, I began to say that trademark response but, stopped myself when I felt my heart tinge a bit. “You know, what? I do miss certain things.”

And, in true Amelia fashion, I wanted to cry. But, since we were at a bridal shower and we were getting ready to play a game that consisted of wrapping the bride in a wedding dress designed with toilet paper, I smiled really big, batted my eye lids a few times and swallowed it.

Later, I let myself be sad, called a few people I missed who made me laugh and I realized how far I’ve come, where I still have to go and how thrilling the whole journey has been and will always be. How could I think for a second that my life, all of a sudden wouldn’t be thrilling? It always has been and it always will be, it just comes in different kinds of packages.