But who is making all the decisions at the end of the day?
“I don’t know what I want to do yet, not when, not how.” This is one of the most frequent sentences I’ve heard in Berlin when it comes to partnerships, work or life. “Maybe it’s better if we see where things go , what comes up, and then we’ll figure everything out “. It all sounds plausible, to let things happen and taking them as they come. So effortless and simple. But who is making all the decisions at the end of the day?
People yearn for a lifestyle as open and non-binding as possible. The more freedom, the better. But then why are we circling in the middle of these big city streets, wandering awkwardly, aimlessly back and forth and forgetting where we actually wanted to go? I have always imagined freedom differently. Someone once said Berlin was like Burning Man. An arbitrary collection of endorphin bursts, magic and tragedy at the same time. Having understood that , even I get a little bit lost along the way. Berlin flashes and crashes me at the same time. I’m flooded with stimuli, people and thoughts. At Kotti I look at the colorful lights that are burning.
Listen to the loud bar music played in continuous loop. Advertising. Posters. Shopping center. I stop at the salesmen, who furiously shout at each other. “Freedom, now!” “The solution to all your problems. “The panacea.” I let myself be distracted, persuaded, turned away. And really everyone, everyone promises me freedom. Heavily loaded I stroll on. The bags are cumbersome and unwieldy. The bus is full and narrow, taking me to the end of the line. Do I even have to get off here? This is my stop. And although I see far and wide, it crushes me because I feel small every time. Intimidating and frightening. I walk on without a plan.
On the way I meet those who are equally disoriented. We get along well, because they’re just as lost, that’s what we have in common. They’ve also been shopping, dragging the ballast with them. Everyone with his own and nobody wanting to get rid of it. We roam the area together, turning right and left and quite frankly, nobody really knows which way to go so we end up leaving it all to chance. We stop and start dancing into the morning hours, from twilight into the deep night, making us understand everything about life. We numb ourselves, obscure our disorientation until we faint. How are we supposed to get there if nobody knows the destination?
Losing freedom and getting lost
Months, maybe years I’ve spent searching for something. A certain revelation answering my questions and then suddenly vanishing again. An answer I can’t even formulate the question to. So what am I even looking for? I found them neither on the streets of Berlin, in partnerships, nor on other continents. Even in all these different places , a solution to my never ending issue could not be found making me realize that the search there may have been just an escape from the search here. I was appalled when all I got were blank gazes and silence as a response.
Eventually I got my answer one day. We met in the distance and as we walked through this journey to nowhere again, I could read an answer from the silence for the first time. What I saw was fear. No deep relaxation, no feeling of freedom, but fear of the unknown. Afraid of hurting, getting hurt and staying wounded. Fear of losing freedom and especially getting lost. It’s better to tag along and drift and watch life passing by. Slowly, gradually, and as a matter of course, to accept and observe.
Who knows how long. And while I stood there, I suddenly enjoyed the silence because I became so much aware of everything , I ignored the screams and laughter of the crowd, overheard the whining and clang of the city traffic. The funny thing was, we were already lost. We would have never found the way out of this labyrinth. Running in circles, moving in the same place, endlessly without a goal. The only thing we would run away from would be the truth and we would only escape reality.
Looking around, I knew where to go. Away from here. I don’t want to become just an observer of my life, I don’t want to watch indifferently and passively. We all have a choice to take the lead actively and carefully. There is nothing stopping you and no excuses. You can always find a way even though you could fall. This is freedom to me. To make decisions and not to let chance decide. Life is way too short to be waiting for miracles to happen. Why not create miracles right away?
A few cracks and a few bruises
It illustrates the inner strength to be able to overcome your fears and doubts and start living in the moment… To end the miserable masquerade and to allow yourself to be authentic and vulnerable. Appreciation of oneself and one’s partner to enter into a commitment and to stand by one’s opinion. Not to be controlled by fear, but to take control. And should one fall, so what ? But he was still standing in front of the huge concrete wall, hopeless and helpless, trying to hammer his head against it to move forward. After all these years, just a few cracks and maybe a few bruises.
It turns out that he was the one holding on to his suffering all this time and not the other way around. He had been doing it for quite a while, but unfortunately no progress was made. Taking him by the hand, showing him the way is not my job. And since I couldn’t help, I turned around and left. And there I had it — my very own freedom. I made my own decision. The exit was before us the whole time but we couldn’t find it, didn’t want it or weren’t ready for it. He’ll probably be trapped in this maze for a while longer. But I don’t wish that for him. I hope that at some point we all get our answers.
Read this article in German