My ultimate (hour of) freedom… is kind of a buzzword. The carrot that I want to have, but never seem to be able to catch.
Just the other day I felt I was so very close. Worked till noon, had my laundry done the previous day, groceries shopping and other chores done as well, and with the hockey season over I didn't have to pick up Colin in the middle of the afternoon, sandwiches made, gym bag packed.
I went to the mall, yes, "B" on the map, yes, it's quite a drive, and yes, I really like it there.
I sat at SBUX, notebook charged, connected to one hour of free Wi-Fi, typed a title and a couple of words… when in walked an old coworker / friend.
"Hi, good to see you, how are ya?"
"Actually not so great…"
Never mind. Close that lid.
I'll get my hour. Next time! Right?
By the way, is it freedom from or freedom to? Both?
Back when there were no notebooks where your text could be saved, I wrote an essay on freedom. I was a college student, and I wrote with one of those fountain pens. Yes, it was in the last millennium.
Here is what I can remember writing:
It included the Eiffel Tower elevator scene, and how I wandered the streets of Paris all on my own, from Arc de Triomphe all the way down Champs-Elysées, until it was time to catch the Métro and get back to my group.
For some this might be a horror scenario. Being all by themselves in a foreign country where this impossible language is being spoken, the exchange rate is tricking you into thinking you're actually doing great, oh and those smelly bums in the underground stations making you feel awkward…
Why was this so liberating for me? I think it was about not having to follow other people's plans, schedules and rules. Who was I kidding, dutiful person that I was, I made sure to be back in time for dinner, hoping that everybody would think I went places with the other group. It worked!
When the 18 year old me wrote about the ultimate freedom, she included the Camel Man. You do remember him, right? Brawny, curly hair dude, fording rivers? So not my type - but surely he must enjoy the ultimate freedom!
I am still proud of the 18 year old me, because as she was writing, it dawned on her... that in order for his jeep or motorbike to go places, he needed gasoline just like the rest of us!
As long as our credit card is not being declined, we can get all the gas we need, right? No? We depend on our own government's negotiation skills and the oil sheiks' goodwill? Dang! So if not us, then they have the ultimate freedom, they get to decide who to ship their barrels to? Right?
That's how far I took it back then. My professor liked it. Getting an A is kind of an ultimate success :-)
Today, let's go one step further… Isn't the oil sheiks' ultimate freedom constrained by religious rules? Think "no alcoholic beverages"! Take that, sheiks - can't have it all!
(Should I state at this point that I have dear Muslim friends, so absolutely no disrespect is intended? I think i should. Just as when I half jokingly say I might get admitted. I know it's nothing to joke about.)
And this, my friends, is the moral of the story. It's sad:
There is no ultimate freedom! Especially the ultimate part of it.
Colin's school dedicated a special projects' week to opposites. Groups did activities on "sweet / savory", "indoors / outdoors", "courage / fear", you get the picture. He was in the "black / white" group, and they painted a Yin and Yang symbol.
Even if, let's say, the black half, stands for freedom - the white dot prevents that freedom from being ultimate.
The good news? Just like Santa, perfect love or fat burning pills, there is the illusion of it!
And I want to encourage you to go for it!
I know that you are tired of the daily grind. Your workload is heavy, your boss demanding, your kids whiny, you don't have time to do what's important to you, your laundry basket is full, your car gas tank and fridge empty, and don't get me started on your bank account.I hear you!
Let's take a minute and remember the basis from which we strive to achieve that ultimate freedom: we do have a job, a family, interests to follow, clothes to wear, a car, we don't go hungry, and usually there's always that spare buck somewhere. We have it all, really, but maintaining all of our achievements and possessings stresses us out, and we get ungrateful and greedy.
Maybe having less would give us more freedom? You may have heard the story of the fisherman and the rich guy. It's pasted on the bottom of this post.
Last week I came across the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge, and I figured it was exactly what I needed to do: noticing the little things. By taking pictures and posting, they become important. Just by looking through a week's worth of little things, I've come to realize, I am pretty darn lucky, and my every day life is full of little freedoms!
And maybe, the sum of 100 little freedoms add up to an almost ultimate freedom? I will let you know by July 1st - that's when my 100 days are over. I may be gone fishin' by then...