I’ll start by repeating myself – you are not required to be anything. Honestly, you’re not. You can cut your reading short and consider yourself one of the lucky few if you know this already. Yet, if you’re anything like me then you weren’t born with such a brilliant piece of knowledge, nor were you taught it in-between your history and algebra lessons. A couple of years back, however, I moved to a new and unfamiliar town and had the rare opportunity of spending the majority of my time alone. This time was special and unique, and it led me inward where I learned so many beautiful things about myself and the human heart. One of the most important, perhaps, is this very lesson.
I want you to take a moment and be still, and become more aware that you are occupying a space. Glance around at all of the objects that you are currently surrounded with. Perhaps there are walls built around you, covered in frames and shelves and television sets all created by working hands. Get rid of them. Push them away in your mind. Allow yourself, in this image, to be standing or sitting outside, free and open in the air. Now, erase everything else man-made that you see. All of it – the paved roads, the electrical wires, the buildings that touch the sky and the sewers beneath your feet. Let yourself stand in nothing but nature.
What is left around you now? Can you feel them – the most difficult and complicated creations we have made to date? Surrounding you, always, are the cultural requirements and societal structures that we have built. Structures that, while arguably are important for a functioning and efficient community, inevitably lead to our forgetting of the autonomy that we do in fact hold over our lives. Now, just as with the walls and buildings that you made disappear before, let go of these structures in your mind as well.
Seriously, let them go. You don’t need them – they don’t serve you, you have been serving them.
The truth is that from birth we have not been required to be anything at all. There is no force in nature demanding that we find steady monetary income or that our home be a static structure which we indebt ourselves to. Never have the wind or the stars asked us to grow up faster or leave our childhood wonder behind. Above the structures that we ourselves have built there is no obligation, by anybody or by anything, to be a kind friend or a good parent or even a decent human – these, mostly, are things we choose out of love.
In the image of yourself that you are holding, there are now no buildings, no engines, and no walls keeping you in. There are few disruptive noises, nothing but wind and sun on your face, and most importantly – the weight of requirements and obligations ceases to exist. You are standing with both feet on the earth, freely and with intention, while your whole heart waits for the answer to a brand new kind of question.
What type of person would you LIKE to be?
Michael F. DuBois is a writer, filmmaker and artist living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He has a deep love for the ocean and is interested in stories of peace, introspection and personal growth.