On Running Away

I tossed off a tweet when I was making breakfast the other day:

Advice on leaving (your place of birth, social media platforms, etc.): Make sure you’re running toward something, and not just away from something! ✨

What prompted it was I was cooking breakfast, and reflecting on my move from Atlanta to Los Angeles a few years ago, and then from Los Angeles to New York City. When I told my family about the first move, my dad was curious why, and shared something along those lines. He was nudging for details and trying to understand my mindset – was I hurting? Worn down? Desperate? Or alive, seeking, hopeful? It stuck with me. And luckily the second move was much higher on the “running toward” than the “running away” side of things.

I was also thinking of a certain website that’s been in the news lately for leaning into some of its worst qualities. I’m one of the lucky people with a small, friendly following that generally has a great experience. I see many people who seem increasingly frazzled and broken by theirs, though. I don’t feel it directly, but I can understand it. It’s valid, as all emotions are.

I think the part of the advice above that I love the most is the attitude it implies – positive, constructive, optimistic. Reminds me in a slant way of the current tag line for Alan Jacobs’ blog:

More lighting of candles, less cursing the darkness

I’d always want to leave with a promise of something better, not a curse on the past. I’m open to the idea that Mastodon or Post or Hive or whatever is a better Twitter than Twitter. And I hope if (when?) I leave I’ve got a good vision of what “better” looks like. Eventually every escape will come to rest, and when you look around, it helps to have some standards to measure by.

Similar to Amy Poehler’s perspective I shared a few years ago:

I see life as like being attacked by a bear. You can run, you can pretend to be dead, or you can make yourself bigger.

I don’t want to wear out my shoes fooling myself. What will make me bigger? It may not be another app. I’ve got time to think it over. I hope you do, too.