Some days I want to run away and join the circus. It’s a romantic idea, isn’t it? To hop on a caravan and leave everything behind. Most of my childhood summers were spent this way, travelling from city to city with my family, feeling wild and adventurous and free. Wanderlust was instilled in me at a very young age. It’s not the sort of thing that ever goes away. I will always be just a little bit restless.
I will always have a longing inside of me, as large as an elephant, as ferocious as a lion. It calls to me at idle moments. It announces itself as the next exciting act. It blazes open and I swallow the fire whole. It burns.
It is a juggling act, this desire to escape, and hold on, and be content. One of them is always in the air, just out of reach. One of them is always the thing I want to catch when my hands are already full of the other two. There are requirements for running away. You have to be brave. You have to be comfortable with uncertainty. You have to be willing to leave everything behind.
And I’m not. I have built my foundations for a reason. I have settled into a life because I find safety in stability. I need a net beneath the tightrope. I am clumsy. I routinely fall.
I need things to catch me – friends and family and a home and a job and those daily routines and obligations. I need a sense of purpose. I need a consistent act.
Without it, there are no soft, caressing landings. There is only the terrifying emptiness of nothing to cling to, the shock of impact on the hard, merciless ground. There are only broken bones and no one to attend to them. There is nothing to hold on to when I’m trying to get back up.
Still, I will always be just a little bit restless. I will always hear that distant big band playing in my heart. There will always be a part of me that wants to run through the old untamed fields of this world, looking for adventure under the big top tent of the sky.
There will always be a circus inside of me, full of clowns and performers and tamers of those scary, hungry lions. I will try more than once to become ringmaster, to have control over the entire wild troupe. But the acrobats will flip and twist more than I expect them to. They will arrive unannounced. They will frighten the elephants who will trumpet madly in surprise. The sound will throw the tightrope walkers off balance. They will fall. The audience will gasp.
And I will dream in that moment of running away from the circus, of leaving it all behind. I will romanticize the way it would be nice, some days, to just be an ordinary person with ordinary routines and obligations. I will long for time to just sit, unmoving, in the quiet comfort of a place that feels like home. No props, no elephants, no lions, no tightropes, no announcements, no acts. Just me and the safety net of my contentment.