Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Escape Artist

Lately I’ve been at a loss thinking about something to write about. I do not want this blog to be a shallow recounting of all the swanky events I attended and the VIPs I got to mingle with, because after a while, it would be boring to read.

While searching for something insightful and substantial to report, I was inspired when two of my friends from high school came to visit me this past weekend. Not only did they trigger an idea for a post, but they also made me ponder the idea of escapism and how I think everyone feels they need to escape something while they’re young.

I always prided myself on my cultured upbringing; I thought it was cool that I had lived in many different locations as a child, was able to vacation in places my friends didn’t, and was brought up to appreciate art and have an open mind about life in general. Foolishly, I thought this culture was reinforced by my family’s moving to West Deptford, New Jersey, but this weekend I realized what I think I knew all along; West Deptford is not the cultural epicenter of America. It was my parents who instilled that culture in me, not the town we lived in.

When my friends did come, we had a fun time, sure. We went to an ultra-exclusive party in East Hampton, to which we were ushered in on golf carts, and mingled with Susan Sarandon. However, one of my friends had serious reservations about the soiree because it was so different from anything she had experienced living in West Deptford her whole life. The other, I believe showed a meaner streak than usual because I think she was uncomfortable about being in the new setting. Therefore, the two stuck together in their unfamiliar whereabouts and, perhaps subconsciously, tried to make me feel bad for being here. You can take the girl out of West Deptford, but you can’t take the West Deptford out of the girl.

Their efforts, however, were in vain because I LOVE it here. WD will always be my home and I’ll forever feel some sense of pride in it, but I definitely do not plan on living there for the rest of my life. When I told them I was “not about” living in WD anymore, one thought I was crazy. But I need to escape.

Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and men usually want to branch out and start their own lives in a more drastic manner than girls – and, well, no, I really cannot make that sexist accusation because there are plenty of girls with the guts to move into a new setting and start a new life.

Truly I think it is because everyone feels an intrinsic obligation to escape their life when they’re young. And of course, it’s totally natural. You need to escape the life your parents built for you and strike out on your own. Leave the nest, if you will. And for me, growing up in West Deptford, I know that a lot of the people I attended high school with will be WD “lifers”. Nothing against that either, but isn’t it better to have a frame of mind in which you crave new experiences and want to see the world? Personally, I think it is. And from my experiences, a lot of people are afraid to do just that because of a fear of the unknown. And I feel sad for them. Sad, because I know they are so set in their ways I could never change their minds, and also sad that they won’t know a life outside the bubble they call home.

DISCLAIMER: Before all my West Deptford readers fire back at me, know that I am generalizing here and not speaking about any specific individuals.

Summer is ending and I think I feel this way because there is a question looming over my head about what I should do come September. My insides are bubbling with that escapist feeling and my mind’s hell-bent on branching out yet again on a new adventure. I just know that I can’t and go home and become another West Deptfordite. I just can’t.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this thoughtfully written piece on a time in your life that each of us has faced....a turning point....which way do I go? Your insight is impeccable, Kyle....and your courage cannot be measured. We have all believed in you and recognized your talents and it is exciting to see you, unafraid, reaching for the stars.