Escaping the Carousel of Life

There is a reason that as we get older, we like carousels seemingly less and less. This kid-like wonder we had at the round-about motion has dissipated, and if we’re honest, we’re more likely to throw up than we are to have a good time.

But why is that?

Obviously, I’m not talking about just a carousel. I’m talking about the repetitive wheel of doing the same thing every day, over and over. It’s just as nauseating, but unfortunately many of us don’t have the option of just getting off the ride.

What got me thinking of this, you may wonder. Well, I was given this artwork for a writing prompt, and all I found myself thinking about was how everyone is really looking for the same thing: happiness.

How beautiful is this idea? Creatures who were trapped, literally chained down, breaking away from the life they were stuck in.

I wonder how many days they spent on that ride, going around and around. Seeing the same things every day, unable to change. I wonder how many people they served, blissfully unaware that their lives could mean more. And I wonder at what point did they decide enough was enough.

It isn’t easy to break away—to leave a job, a home, or a relationship. Whether it’s a mind-numbing and stressful job or an abusive relationship, some things in life can strip away what really makes you you—what you love about life. So even though breaking free is hard, sometimes it’s essential.

And once you do break away, you might even feel lost. The world becomes new, open to all kinds of possibilities. Like a wild carousel horse, you get to decide what direction to go in. At first, it might just be away. It can be scary, but that’s what real freedom is like. The catch though… I mean, there’s always a catch, amirite? The catch is that jumping off the carousel and riding into your own future isn’t as easy as it might seem because … money.

Some people say that money can’t buy happiness, but I’m on Ariana’s side: “Whoever said money can’t solve your problems / Must not have had enough money to solve ’em.

If you don’t have money, it’s really hard to better your life by breaking free. I don’t mean to be depressing, but it’s true. Think about someone who’s stuck living somewhere that’s less than ideal—with toxic family members or an emotionally unavailable partner. If you can’t afford to move, well, then, you can’t. Want to leave that soul-sucking job? Without another one lined up or a bank account full of money, you’re trapped.

Winning the lottery or hell, even landing the right job can be life-changing. Trust me. Breaking free is a choice, but money can change what options you have to choose between.

I want to move out to the West Coast, I have for a long time. With the past four years, abroad has been a very tempting idea. But up and moving across the country isn’t cheap. And when there are pets and kids in the picture, breaking free and moving is even harder, especially when it’s tough just getting through from payday to payday.  But I’m sure those carousel horses didn’t find it easy to break free, either.

This picture reminds me that no matter how impossible it may seem, you can always jump off the carousel and break the cycle. If you’re like me, it may take a looooot more plotting, but I have to believe that it’s achievable, because I refuse to believe that we belong on an endless ride to nowhere.

8 thoughts on “Escaping the Carousel of Life

  1. Pingback: Escaping the Carousel of Life — Musings from a Tangled Mind | Rethinking Life

  2. Perfect. Money is everything and those who say it isn’t, have lots of it. We are KEPT poor, or at least not filthy rich, so we can be made to run on the wheel and then fall off and die. I agree. Freedom is all that matters but you have to eat and survive…especially if you’re female. It’s dangerous out there for us. Violence and poverty is a way to enslave people. The issues are bigger than breaking away, they are about destroying a society/culture that enforces minimum wage, while voting themselves pay raises, that allows violence against women to continue every second of every day and insists on keeping poverty, hunger a way of life, along with no education, health care and food/medical deserts.

    They make it impossible for people to run away and be free because the PUNISHMENTS are set up to stop people from doing just that.

  3. Sometimes, we are, too set in the ways we are used to, do things, that, even if there’s, a better way, we can’t, make ourselves, adapt, and change too, and thus, we get, stuck!

  4. I have learned with time that getting free of the carousel has to start with a change of mental priorities. Instead of focus on what one wants “but” hasn’t the means to achieve, I now try to look for what however small things I can change to improve where I am. One incremental shift at a time has brouight me to where I had thought I could never arrive.

  5. I adore carousels. I collect them and am dieing to find an retired carousel animal.
    Money can buy happiness, but only to a certain amount. Which of course will change over time when nothing else (including wages) does. In order to actually LIVE we had to move out of the US and to the middle of Mexico. I feel safer here and I can actually breathe here as well. Move wasn’t cheap, but it was the only way we were going to survive. Despite the degrees, there was no way we could live anywhere in the US and actually live.

    Which by live I mean not always being stressed out if we have the money to cover the rent/mortgage, bills as well as have food and medications. Not having to worry if one of the animals gets hurt, they’re going to suffer because we can’t afford the vet bills. Not have to worry about getting crap medical care for us when one of us gets hurt. And being able to buy that fancy coffee when we’re feeling like a freaking fancy coffee and not have some ignorant asshat tell us we’d have more money if we didn’t spend it on that rare fancy coffee. Yeah THAT’S the problem, not that even with my degrees I can only get $15 an hour in a city where you need almost $30 an hour to survive. Or that people don’t want to pay $50 an hour for the degrees and knowledge my husband has either. Unless you work with the government and that is a whole new set of stress really.

    I see living as being able to eat, medicate, pay all bills and grab a Sunset Roll with Masago when the desire strikes. To do a job you enjoy and then hang out after the pandemic with people you enjoy. Life cannot be just going to work and then going home and doing nothing else. Even if you adore your job, which much of the time I did. Just doing those things is not a good life.

  6. Good thoughts, specially when you realize they come from an, allegedly, tangled mind!
    To make a long story short, I just wanted to express my opinion that it takes a fair amount of courage to jump off the merry-go-round. I lacked the firmness to do so when I once reached such a point in my life. But I dont want to waste time regretting it, and at the and of the day [number 32.620, actually], I still find life wonderful.

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