CHAOS THEORY AND SEVEN BILLION STRANGERS

I've always been an over-explorer When I was a toddler, I skipped the crawling stage and went straight from sitting to standing, waddling around on my tiny little legs like I was looking for adventure and nothing could get in my way. Imagine, a kid who is too stubborn to crawl. That was me. And the need to be on the move hasn't stopped since then. From a young age, I always had my head in the clouds, my eyes trained to the sky and my feet planted firmly on the ground. I was born with an inherent lust for adventure.

This lust didn't leave me in toddlerhood either. In fact, it seems to be an infection which has spread through my body completely and taken hold of me. It's a blessing and a curse. I love to be doing new things, moving around and constantly experiencing things. But it's hard to keep up with and I find myself increasingly difficult to please. No adventure is big enough. No feeling is exciting enough. No build up is ever worth it. I've come to accept this as just a sensation that happens within my messy little brain. A need to fulfil this constant gap with the act of living, and the constant disappointment when the gap still stays.

One thing which I have found to be a good temporary plug for this gap, is travel. Being a small town girl, I've often felt tethered to the ground by the tiny roads which stretch out around me. It's easy to feel stuck. It's painfully easy to forget that there's a world outside of your immediate reach. Small town life will drown your soul. Travel, however, will nurture it. It'll tear your soul from your body. Allow it to swoop and glide through the endless landscapes of new people, new culture and new experiences. It'll fill every gap you've ever felt and, if only for a moment, it'll make you feel complete.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the fact that in our lives, we only get the chance to meet the tinniest percentage of other people who are sharing this world with us. To me, that is terrifying. There are people living right now, sharing experiences and thoughts that I too might feel and think, but I'm never ever going to get to meet them. I might pass them in the street or notice them in a crowded cafe. But we'll never cross paths again. We'll never speak. We'll never laugh together. Maybe I won't even become aware of their existence because they're living in a tiny little remote town that I'll never visit. That, to me, feels like a billion missed opportunities. That, is why I need to travel. To see and understand the things that I can't access by staying still.

If you've ever heard of chaos theory (or seen The Butterfly Effect), this idea may sound vaguely familiar. Chaos theory is the idea that the tinniest actions which take place in our days will have a rippling effect and will change the outcome of your entire life. If you step out of your house at 9.15am, you'll have a completely different day, and subsequently life, to the day you'd have had if you'd stepped outside of your door at 9.17am. You'd have caught a different train, met different people, been in a different place in line at the coffee shop, crossed the road at a different time, sat with different cars around you in a traffic jam. In chaos theory, everything matters.

I often think of chaos theory in relation to the strangers I pass in my life. If I take a wrong exit on a motorway and end up driving down the wrong road for 10 miles, I find myself thinking in complete amazement that if I'd never made that wrong turning, I'd never know that any of these people who I was passing on the other side of the road existed. I fall into a daze of thinking about their lives, who they are, who they love, if they're married, whether they think about the same things that I do before going to sleep at night. Maybe we like the same TV shows. Maybe we've met before on a different street and a different time but neither of us would ever know because we've both seen too many other strangers faces since then? I am constantly amazed at the size and scale of this world and it's spiralling web of characters and plots when you look at it through a wider lens.

This is why I love travel. It broadens the map for me. It makes chaos theory even more wild and unpredictable. It adds elements and factors which never could have been possible from staying in one place. It allows me to see the lives of other people. To piece strangers lives together and attach them on to my own. I wholeheartedly believe that life is that much easier and feels that much better when you understand not only yourself, but the people around you. It makes things less scary when you know that you're not going through it alone and that every spotlight in the world is not on you. 

Maybe I'm an over thinker. Maybe life really is more simple than I allow myself to believe. But to me, every decision is a big one. Every move is a life changing one, even if it doesn't feel like it. Every accidental mistake opens up the door to new possibilities. Life is a dice with an infinite number of outcomes. Who you meet, where you go and who you become are all dependent on the decisions that you make which feel the smallest. And this shouldn't be a cause of stress or anxiety. It's a reason to feel excited for every single day.

Never feel bored of life - like you've seen it all or that you've done all that there is to do. Never feel like you have no friends or that there's nobody out there who can relate to you or who wants you here. Instead, think of the billions of people who you haven't met yet who are all future possibilities. Think of all of the experiences which you haven't had yet which are entirely within your reach. Think of how, in an instant, your life can completely change. It starts with an impromptu walk to the shops. With two sugars in your tea instead of one. With choosing to take the long way home instead of the short way. With saying excuse me to the person walking past you on the street. With stopping to tie your shoe in the middle of the pavement. Life is constantly unpredictable. Don't let the gaps inside you grow and form cracks. Fill them with life, love and travel. Fill them with possibility.


7 comments :

  1. uGH Lauren it was such a delight to read this *inserts sparkling hearts emojis here* beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful

    Noor Unnahar | Noor's Place

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much lovely!! This means an awful lot coming from you <3

      Delete
  2. Such a beautiful post ��

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is beautifully written Lauren. I completely agree with everything you've said. I always overthink about this exact subject, and love to indulge in the details of other peoples lives x

    Abi | abistreetx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading Abi - So glad I'm not the only one who thinks about this stuff!x

      Delete