We all value our freedoms in different ways and at different degrees. Some of us are so liberated we have a difficult time committing to anything or anyone, while a few only like freedom when they need a little space (but even then, they want to know someone or something is close by, just in case they feel lonely).
Freedom is funny in that way – we want the freedom to choose our freedoms, not have them decided for us. If we don’t want to be free of something, then we want the option not to be, but if we do, then we want that choice, too.
Say for instance, we’re dating someone we really like. He fits the bill, he stimulates us intellectually and otherwise, he is giving when we need him to be, but demands that we take, too. He’s tall and handsome, chiseled and yet has that boyish demeanor…we’re smitten. But then we’re an independent, self-sufficient, confident female. We don’t really depend on him to fulfill us in each way we need to be compensated. We don’t need him to open really tight jars, just need him to be at an arm’s reach in case we absolutely can’t budge it. We don’t need him to help us move – we can hire movers, after all – but it’s nice to know he’s there…
…until he’s not.
And then, all of those freedoms we craved, all of the space that our independent-self thought she needed, suddenly doesn’t seem so important. Now what we want more than anything is to reverse the breakup, reverse the fight, reverse the need to be liberated, and have him, right here, right now. But the freedom of choice is gone because someone else decided to exercise theirs.
Or what about a job? They’re hard to come by these days and seem like precious little entities once you find one you actually like. Or at least one you like a little bit, at least. And so, you work hard and you dedicate your time, your energy, your creativity to making your company and your own career better and more competitive. You suck up the things you don’t like and you make a promise to yourself (and to the job gods) that you’ll find a way to make any work, work…
…until it doesn’t.
Until a company downsizes or collapses in a dismal economy. Until job performance suffers because as 20-somethings, we’re given the same advice for our career that we’re given in the similarly dismal dating world: keep your options and eyes wide open – unless you have the dream job (or man) of course. But in keeping freedom in mind, do we ever really commit to anything?
Or anything other than wanting to be free? Or at least have the opportunity to choose those freedoms for ourselves, instead of having someone else pick for us? We want the ball of freedom in our courts, not in the court of the universe, but more often than not, our speed, our agility, or our ability to slam dunk has little to do with us, and a lot to do with fate.
Because maybe that guy seemed wonderful and perhaps that job kept a roof over our head and happy hour drinks in our tummy, but it wasn’t what was meant for us. Maybe we end up staying with guys or at jobs longer than we should for fear that nothing else will along or that every human’s greatest fear will come true, and we’ll be left alone, homeless, broke, and unloved.
But those things don’t happen as often as we’d like to believe. And when they do, the universe just takes the ball back and encourages you to shoot again. To aim higher. To run faster. To feel the sweet wind blowing through your hair. To enjoy your freedoms, even when you didn’t decide to have them for yourself.
Because sometimes, these liberties are the ones that open up the most doors and ultimately, make us the freest of all.
Daily Gratitude: Today, I’m thankful to be free.