Running away to the circus.
It seems like a romantic idea. Turn your back on all the pressures of the regular world. Enter an alternate world, where every day is an exciting adventure. Travel to exotic places, never spending more than a few days in any one location. And spend your time providing amazing entertainment involving tricks and feats of tremendous derring-do. What could possibly be better?
I never did it myself, at least not in the physical sense. Partly, I suppose, I just didn’t have the nerve. I’m a conservative kind of fellow. I tend to shy away from anything that reeks of risk and uncertainty. Though I’m not averse to the occasional adventure, I always like to have some kind of return point. Choosing a life in which there are none of the standard reference points of everyday life is a little terrifying for me.
Secondly, I was never sure what I could actually do. Most circus acts require a certain level of physical prowess. Okay, I’m not completely useless when it comes to the physical. I’m not in bad shape, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve – for instance I’m actually not too bad at juggling. But the level of physical ability required to be an acrobat or a high-wire walker or any of the other circus performers will always be way beyond me. And though the suggestion that perhaps I could be a clown is not completely unreasonable, I have to say that (like many) I find clowns more terrifying than funny.
So for those reasons I never ran away to join the circus. I’ve remained on the more well-trodden lane of life. Got married and started a family. Bought a house. Settled down to the 9-5 full time working lifestyle. All thoroughly conventional.
Except it’s not as simple as that.
While my body goes through the routines of everyday life, my mind is somewhere else entirely.
It’s turning handstands and cartwheels. It’s balancing on a tightrope, not knowing if or when it’s about to fall. It’s juggling multiple objects of many different sizes and shapes, hoping it won’t collapse under their weight. In short, my mind is performing all the tricks of a circus performer.
Which is a really wonderful thing. It helps me to survive the drudgeries of daily life. It provides hope when I feel like I’m stuck and not getting anywhere. It provides the inspiration for every story I’ve written.
My mind never allowed itself to be curtailed by everyday life. While the rest of me was too scared to make the leap. My mind didn’t have any qualms about running away to join the circus.
And I hope it never comes back.
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