Gen Xer: Want to Break Free? Go Fish…

About 5 minutes to read

Howdy Gen Xer

Do me a favour for a moment; think about an average day in your life. Now think about how much obligation consumes your day, all the things you should be doing. You have commitments to family, work, partners, parents and everything requires your attention, often immediately. Regardless of how much inner work you’ve done on yourself there is still that nagging voice in your head dictating how you should be doing it. You long to be free but the Should Gremlin holds you back from throwing it all in your bucket full of fuck-its, and instead you continue doing what’s expected because it’s the expected thing to do.

I Want to Break Free

As a teenager, I lived next door to Benny and Beverley. She was a chain smoker, he liked his rum and coke, and their two bare-assed, snotty nosed kids would run screaming up and down the street all day long. They were like many lower income young couples struggling to make a living, life was routine but they were making the most of it.

Enter Freddie Mercury left of stage with I want to Break Free. At first, Freddie and Benny were relatively quiet together but slowly their relationship became all-consuming and very loud. On weekends from dawn to dusk Benny sat in his black Ford Cortina, rum and coke in hand, crying and singing with Freddie. Over and Over and Over. Imagine this song on repeat, played for hours on end at full volume.

Eventually my mother started shouting out the lounge window “Benny shut that racket off and go inside your house!”

“Aunty Thora, I WANT TO BREAK FREE!” he’d wail back.

“My boy if you don’t shut that off I will come there and break you free!”

In full stride my mother could be a powerfully intimidating woman but against Benny and Freddie she was utterly powerless and for weeks, the whole neighbourhood was tortured with this song as Benny cried in his Cortina, rum and coke in hand.

Beverly was screaming and crying indoors, the kids were screaming and crying on the streets, and eventually the neighbours were screaming and wanting to escape the Nortje family post haste.

What was the reason for all this drama? Well Benny had his dickie in another chickie; his besties wife, and Beverley was freshly pregnant. Talk about a Jerry Springer moment and all Benny could think to do was break free while wailing in his Cortina with Freddie and rum and coke.

You’re Not Benny

Now you may not have such a mess in your life but you may be feeling like you want to break free. You want to break loose, leave it all behind, and go start over somewhere where you don’t have all those obligations and shoulds that are haunting your life. You may even be halfway out the door.

Husband, kids, boss, parents, dogs all want a piece of you and none of them seem capable of managing their own lives. That friend that is always in the same mess is in such a mess she can’t see your mess or that you really don’t give a rat’s ass about her mess. You’re not interested in discussing the issue of the apple tree one more time with your neighbour, just cut the darn thing down already. Honestly sweet cherub child that god-awful dye will eventually grow out and you don’t need to weep and wail all year in the basement.


Enough already, none of this is my shit, where am I in all of this? Get me outta here!

Where Are YOU in All This?

How is that possible to lose touch with ourselves when overwhelmed, and living in obligation central? Aliens haven’t invaded or body snatched us, although at times it does feel that way. We are physically present in the body but pulled in a thousand directions and the easiest solution seems to get away from it all.

The good news it this – it’s not. Getting away from it all won’t solve a thing, because you know the truth… you go with you.

Am I saying you’re part of the problem of overwhelm? Well yes, this is your life and we’ve already dismissed the aliens theory.

We lose touch with ourselves because we become mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually involved in things that are not our concern or our responsibility.

Stop spluttering under your breathe and muttering that I’m a fool and hear me out.

Stuff is always happening. This is the nature of life and sometimes that stuff is a whole lot of really shit stuff, but we have to get out of react mode into respond mode.

Reacting vs. Responding

Have you ever noticed that the emergency services are called the first responders and not called first reactors. Thank God for that! The original meaning of these words are quite different. Respond in the original latin means to re ~ again spondre ~ pledge whereas react comes from medieval latin reagere ~ do again.

Being in an energetic state of reaction means to be explosive, acting impulsively, spontaneously, not necessary with forethought. However the energetic state of responding is much more measured, evaluating, considered. If you consider the energy of these two behaviours, I liken reacting to the bee and responding to the panther. Both are deadly but once the bee has buzzed around your head frenetically and stung you it’s dead, however after the panther has stalked and eaten you she will live another day to feast on another meal.

When we respond to life, we have energetic reserves compared to when we’re reacting to life. Responding brings with it more empowerment, whereas reacting more drama.

How to Move From Reaction to Responding

“Ok,” you may say, “but I still feel like I want to break free and run away.”

As someone who has felt the propensity to leave and who ended up walking 900km across the Camino de Santiago, I can tell you with absolute certainty that what you’re running from doesn’t leave when you walk out the door. The freedom you seek is not in another place or set of circumstances, it is much closer to home.

Your freedom is within, you have to seek it out.

We’ve already established that yes; you are a part of your problem. That is not an indictment, simply a recognition of the truth because this is your life, ergo your responsibility.

Time to Break Free

So what can you do about it? Well you need to get yourself back. You need to go fish.

This is a powerful exercise I developed to help my clients experiencing exactly this dilemma. You’ve given your energy, essence, mind and actions to a thousand and one circumstances and you’re literally floating out there somewhere in the big blue and in order to feel whole again you’ve got to bring yourself back to yourself. This is your power; this is your freedom.

DOWNLOAD the Go Fish exercise Now

Write to me and let me know how this powerful exercise impacted your life.

To your power

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