This is a trap. The kind of trap you can’t get out of. I know, it’s annoying – but if it makes you feel at all better, you put yourself in it. And yes, please, worry.
You have been an active participant of every choice you’ve ever made. Don’t try to blame someone else. Those amazing clothes you are wearing; the perfect pad you rented; the delicious extra bacon you shouldn’t have had. You have created this life. You’ve exaggerated your LinkedIn profile and completely made up anecdotes to suit the job interview. You’ve signed those contracts and shook those hands. In the end, you got more than you wanted. And look at what you’ve built, everything you have accomplished. Society is very proud. If your mom is nice, she’s proud too.
And yet. You know it’s there. It keeps poking at you at the most absurdly inopportune moments. Every time your screen goes off. Every night, when you’re about to fall asleep. Those few instants, on the plane, between landing and being able to turn your phone back on. Every time your consciousness is not submerged in worries and distractions. There it is.
It’s had many names over the years. When you were a teenager, it was “puberty”. When you were in college it was “just experimenting”. Later, it was a “quarter life crisis”. Different names don’t scare it away. It always comes back. It’s relentless like that. Depending on what moral philosophy you subscribe to, it could be your conscience, your soul, the voice of God, your Master from a previous life, or honestly, just one of the voices in your head. It stands above reason and discussion. It is an ever present tyrant commanding you. Sometimes it purrs, more often it growls, gnawing at the status quo you so masterfully created, demanding to escape.
Nobody likes it when the beast awakes. Most try to ignore it. Some try to keep it chained; feeding it expensive vacations, fancy new toys, and noisy distractions. And in doing so, they completely waste its power. The beast is the most authentic force within you, and it’s there to protect you. It’s there to play tricks on you and push you to make sure you’re doing what you are meant to; that you are not just pretending to be good at life, but that you actually do pursue happiness, fulfillment, and self-actualization. It’s there so that you can dare to go in all the directions you are dying to explore, so that you can experience everything you crave. So that nothing is lost upon you.
The beast is within you, and it’s going to eat at you for as long as it takes for you to start listening. This is your trap. It’s made of everything you are, and of everything you own. As I said, you put yourself in it. You can’t escape it unless you’ve unleashed your particular beast, listened to it, and have done all the work that it takes to satiate it. Only then will you be able to arise anew, having finally domesticated the ferocious beast within you. And only then will you truly, completely, and authentically be free.