Freedom


It’s when you’re thrown in darkness that you most appreciate the light, when you’ve been in the scorching sun that you most appreciate the shade, when you’re parched that you most appreciate water… I’m sure you know all this.

It’s only been three weeks since I started work work proper and woah, the freedom each Friday/Saturday and especially today with a one week break coming, tastes so sweet. The freedom to be wandering around aimlessly and not worry about getting home to get work done, or to get sleep. The freedom to wonder to yourself, where should I go next? and know that it really doesn’t matter– I can wander for a few more hours or I can go home, it’s entirely up to me.

Not to mention the freedom to wear something other than collared shirt and pants, and the freedom to actually style my hair something other than boring neat and normal, and the freedom to  paint my nails odd colours and…

Too bad my freedom will never last long enough for me to have the freedom to have funky hair…

This afternoon we were about to jay walk across the road and the group of us were like um, no so nice right, for us as what we are, to jay walk? One of the girls exclaimed, we have no freedom!

I was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed and saw pinkdot calling for volunteers. As a civil servant and especially this kind of civil servant, am I not allow to volunteer for pink dot? Is my freedom really that restricted?

Can I survive three years in this environment, with these restrictions? To put a part of me (a large part?) on hold and behind bars for now? How sweet will the freedom taste after three whole years? Or would I be ‘tamed’ by then and these things no longer freedoms that I crave but mere wild fancies that I can easily do without? Would I find that it was those childish whims that were restricting me and holding me back, keeping me from reaching my full potential and leading a productive life?

Freedom to be who you want to be versus the freedom to fit in and live a normal, respectable life. How important is the freedom to be whatever you want to be, do whatever you want to do… compared to all the other priorities in life?

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What if money didn’t matter?


How would you really enjoy spending your life?

If you say that getting the money is the most important thing… you’ll be doing things you don’t like doing, in order to go on living, that is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid!

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

I really like this video.

Really like it.

And yet real life isn’t that simple, is it. These chase-your-dreams sentiments all paint a one-sided, black-and-white picture; if you’re not chasing your dreams,  you’ve betrayed yourself and succumbed to society’s expectation.

Of course that’s part of the story. Too often we’re too afraid to do what we’d really love because we’re afraid of, or have been convinced by, what society says to us.  Too often we erect unnecessary barriers.

But that’s just part of the story. Here’s the other part: we make personal sacrifices for the things we think are worth it. We make personal sacrifices in our life choices for the people around us.

Sure, I can spend my life riding horses or writing poems and that would make me happy. But riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to buy a laptop or internet access or books or music or a camera or a motorbike or the luxury of travelling overseas.  And all those are things that would make me happy too.

More importantly. Riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to… help pay for my sister’s education. Help take care of my parents in their old age. Pay for my parents’ medical fees. Riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to… support my partner, buy my own home, start a family and give my children the best upbringing I can. And these are the things that, if I can’t do, would make me really upset with myself and take away all the pleasure from riding horses or writing poems. It’s difficult to enjoy even the thing you enjoy most if you’re worrying about where your next meal is going to come from, or worse, your loved ones’ next meal. Or whether your mum is going to live another few years or not, because you can’t afford treatment. Money may not be the most important, but it sure can buy a lot, including security and a peace of mind.

So make the call; where along the spectrum are you willing to stand, how much sacrifice are you willing to make? Opportunity costs between your day to day personal dreams and enjoyment and the other things that money can buy. Just make sure you’re not sacrificing the wrong things for the things that aren’t worth it.

If money didn’t matter?
Wildlife photographer, please.