The world used to have a lot of empty space. Physically and mentally. There were gaps. Places you could go where there was… space. Nothing. Just you and the world. And your thoughts.
Slowly but surely we’ve ‘progressed’. If you can call it that. I’m not honestly sure we should. But we’ve started filling the spaces with reckless abandon.
Sitting on the bus. Standing at the pedestrian crossing. Waiting at the traffic lights or in line at the supermarket. They all used to be empty spaces. Now they’re filled with… stuff. Probably your smart phone.
You’re talking. Reading. Looking. But much less often, thinking.
Actually, I shouldn’t speak for you, but that’s what I’m doing, and I see plenty of other people doing it as well.
It’s not inherently a bad thing, of course. Connection is a beautiful thing. But I know I’ve found myself struggling to find space at times. And as someone who thinks and creates things for a living, I often find myself feeling a little ‘suffocated’. Bombarded and assaulted by all sorts of temptations and noise, and without the space I need to simply sit and think. So it’s become increasingly important for me to find clear air. Without the distractions. And this isn’t just a business thing, coming up with ideas for work. But life as well. It’s space to think, and plan, and dream.
Because it’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing. What already is. For me at least, I know there’s now a lot less time to plan what could be. Unless I make the effort to make time for it.
In the film Don Juan De Marco, Marlon Brando talked about getting caught up in the “momentum of mediocrity”. And as the great philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Today, it moves faster than ever.
Which is why a little while back, I jumped in a car and drove to the centre of Australia and back. Yes, I went for a quick work project, but I could have flown there and back to do that. In a plane. Filled with people. And… stuff. Maybe music. Or a film. A book. And not much space. I knew what I really wanted was some space. Actually, I didn’t just want it, I needed it.
“It’s a long drive and there’s not much out there” one of my friends warned me. My reply? “Perfect.” That was exactly what I was looking for: nothing. Miles and miles of glorious nothing. Just me and space to dream. To think about what could be instead of just being swamped by what already is.
I’m not saying you should jump in a car and drive 4,000kms to find your space. I’m sure it can be done with much less effort , and fuel, than that. Maybe that’s why people meditate? I couldn’t tell you, It’s not really my way to find space. Trail running has always been my meditation. Just me and Mother Nature. That definitely works for me.
And I’m not saying you should let your social media accounts sit idle for a few months like I did to get away from all that noise either. Although I also found that incredibly useful.
What I am saying is don’t forget to make space for yourself. And your dreams. To plan what could be, who you could be, instead of simply getting caught up in the momentum of mediocrity and what already is. Because life moves pretty fast. Don’t miss it.
NOTE: With special thanks to EuropCar for the SUV I drove for this adventure. It’s worth noting, many Australian hire car companies have restrictions on where you can take their vehicles. If you plan on traveling to remote areas, be sure to check this in advance. EuropCar were incredibly kind and helpful to come to my rescue at the last minute when I found this out the hard way at the very last minute.