Why Running Away With the Circus Doesn't Always Change Your Life

Have you ever thought about running away with the circus? I have. In fact, my best friend and I, in our teens, almost walked into a circus and asked if we could join. Of course, running away with the circus doesn’t really work these days, though. It’s not like you can up and leave just like that without parental approval and work permits. It’s not 1890 anymore. There are rules and regulations.

Some people live so in accordance with the rules and regulations they’ve put down for their own lives that they forget to actually live -- they just walk within the confines of what they have been told to do. Others, like myself, are more prone to run away with the circus.

Those who never walk outside the confines of societal expectations often wake up one morning and ask themselves how they ended up where they are and why they aren’t happy? (Ever heard The Ballad of Lucy Jordan? Sort of like that.)

Those who ran away with the circus (possibly even many different circuses) wake up one morning and wonder why they’re running?

The truth is, we all have patterns. We all live within the confines of our mind.

My pattern is to run full speed in the direction of my dreams. I jump on the wagon for the circus and figure out how to work out the details after boarding the train. Usually my dreams are big, so the troubles after boarding the train are paramount. And there always seem to be multiple trains I want to be on at the same time.

This year I’ve decided to take responsibility. It’s so easy to blame others and circumstance for where we are without even realizing. For three years I was furious with immigration and adoption laws in South Africa and my situation with work and financial resources as a result of it. I felt helpless. And angry. And sad. And frustrated. To get the visa I needed to get to adopt the kids I wanted to adopt I needed to raise R5 million for my business, all because supposedly Madonna took a kid out of Malawi which changed the adoption laws for foreigners in South Africa, meaning they now needed permanent residency to be allowed to adopt. How can loving children and working for a country not be enough to let you live there and raise the kids?

Besides, have you ever tried raising two kids from a township filled with issues, having a day job as a freelancer, launching a business and being involved with a not-for-profit at the same time? I was a walking wreck.

I had jumped on a wagon. Or quite a few actually. And I was furious as the end goals were so incredibly high up the mountain that no matter what I did, I didn’t seem to reach them. In fact, I seemed to have all sorts of obstacles thrown my way. Someone likened my life to Pandora’s box and it wasn’t far from it. But I kept fighting for those big goals and I kept running myself to the ground and being miserable as a result.

Then, end of last year, I made a decision. I made a decision to take responsibility. I can curse South African immigration and adoption laws to high heavens, or I can work with what I have. I was so set on one end destination that I didn’t make the most of my current situation. What can I do for the kids right now? What can I do for my work situation right now? What can I do for my business right now? Sure that end goal is great, but if I don’t have the resources to create it, where can I start right now?

I just heard three gun shots going off in the distance, presumably in the township. People choose their actions all the time thinking they have no choice. But we do. And the obvious choice isn’t always the right one.

So what can you do to create the life you love right now?

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