Burn Your Life Down

Do you ever want to burn your life down?

Metaphorically, speaking, of course.

But really. Do you ever want to start over? Raze all of your relationships to the ground, put fire to any friendships in your life, and walk away from it all, in slow motion, as the spark finally hits the gasoline barrel and your life explodes in a swirl of flames that somehow blows your hair away from your face as you casually slip into your Porsche, like in all of the movies?

Yeah, I feel something like that too, every once in a little while.

Because wouldn’t it be easier to start over? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just pick up and leave? Move to another country where no one knows your name or the fact that you still haven’t grown out of the footie pajamas you wore to elementary school a few times? Wouldn’t it be easier to give up on all of your responsibilities in favor of being slightly selfish, locking yourself in a hotel room and eating good food and drinking better wine?

From this side of the fence, it sure looks like it would be easier. Or maybe it just looks like the entire plot of Eat, Pray, Love. 

But for whatever reason, when I consider my distant future, I get overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many pieces to put together. And it seems like nothing fits. And even worse, it feels like my life has pieces that don’t even go to the same puzzle. What am I supposed to do? Build two puzzles? Build another path in case I change my mind?

Of course, I’m a firm believer that you can’t really “mess” up your life. To admit that a person can mess up his or her life would be to suggest that there is a correct way to live. As profound as it may be, I simply believe that whatever you choose is your choice. And you can’t be anyone but yourself, so you can’t do anything in this life that isn’t right for you. You just have to live your life.

But, why does it feel like I’m going to be disappointing people if I don’t do a specific thing? Why do I feel like I have to everything figured out, retirement plan and all, before I have even considered the next ten years? Why can’t I just burn my life down and start fresh whenever I want to?

There’s a relatively simple answer. No, you shouldn’t burn your life down. (Or anything else, for that matter…)

When I start to feel like this, I realize that it probably isn’t because I want to start over. More like, I don’t know what to do with the resources I’ve been given. Metaphorically speaking again, it’s like I have a hammer and a few nails, but instead of building a house, I just want to throw the tools on a bonfire. It’s like I don’t know how to ask anyone, my friends or family, for help.

Really, when you want to burn your life down, it’s not necessarily that you want to start new. It’s probably because you are trying something new. Remember that your greatest assets are the people that hold out a candle to you so that you can make your way in the dark, not the people who hand you the book of matches.

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