I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom lately. Not on the national or global level, but in a very personal sense. Freedom is extremely important to me and has been ever since I can remember. As a child, I hated going to school, not because I didn’t enjoy learning or wasn’t a good student, but because going to school meant the end of my freedom. Everything, including where and when to sit, stand, walk and talk, was dictated by someone else. It killed – or at least wounded – an integral part of my being, one I am working hard to revive.
Ever since I left my job of 13 years a few months ago, I’ve been looking for a way to make a living doing things that I enjoy, but I’ve also been relishing the freedom of not having a job at all. The luxury of being able to do very basic human things like eat, sleep, work and play at my own pace and in my own way has been liberating. And I’m very reluctant to surrender it again. But is that a given? Must I sell my freedom for a salary and the illusion of financial security? I think not. I hope not, anyway.
At the same time, I’m coming to understand that while I shouldn’t sell my freedom, I may have to pay for it. Freedom isn’t free, after all. And what is freedom, anyway? If it’s being able to do and be whatever I want, then it’s also having the means to do so. And since winning the lottery is probably a long shot – at least until I start buying tickets – I will need to pay for my freedom. And maybe the price will be spending at least some of my time doing things I’d rather not do – i.e., getting a job.
I think it was summed up perfectly in a Dilbert cartoon years ago: All jobs require you to do things you’d rather not do. That’s why they have to pay you.
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