It’s the idea that I have lived by, all my years. I have wanted to get it tattooed on my arm for the past 10 years or so. But I haven’t till now. Perhaps because I still do not understand it completely.
Freedom comes with a lot of responsibility. Freedom without responsibility is not freedom at all. Ahhhh! Good things and well said. But what responsibilities are we talking about and who decides those responsibilities? Who but me could decide? I am still stuck in that debate but I’m more than determined to seek answers for myself, from my own understanding. I do not like being told. The space for wondering and for deciding in my mind belongs to me; I am not letting anyone else fill it up.
“I wear the chain I forged in life…. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
As a kid “freedom” simply meant freedom from slavery, US against the British, the French against the monarchy, Cuba against the Americans, Tibet against the Chinese. I saw this world through what I learnt. But slowly this world was not just restricted to books and to my family and teachers. I grew up to know this word had several meanings. The Oxford dictionary describes freedom as “the right to do what you want to without anyone stopping you”. When it is some other person who stops us, it is definitely a right.
But when it is us ourselves who stop us, it becomes a choice. For example if my girlfriend is forcing me to watch a movie with her when I want to play a football game, it will be legit to say no. But when she wants me to watch a movie with her and not go play football, but doesn’t say anything about it, it’s a choice I have to make. You can pity on me later but do you not agree that this right is so much easier to claim than the choice to make.
I am free flowing, I like to keep an open mind and my heart is open to everyone. But irony leaves nothing untouched. There is another side to my story as well. I have been called impulsive, brash, a spendthrift and reckless. It has never been very difficult for me to ignore my own logic and ignore my own (or are they my own?) thoughts and jump into wonders and disasters. But since it is freedom we are talking about, I shall contest my claim to sanity to the fullest and vehemently so. Am I not free to do what I want to? The one responsibility I clearly understand is that my freedom has to respect other people and their freedom too.
Is there more to it? Maybe.
I live in the moment. What I can do right now has always been more important than what might happen later. The consequences are mine to face as well. My money is hard earned through honest means, and I spend it the way I want to. Thoughts and logic are a part of reflection, a part of the future. The past has stories that make me smile, feel guilty and a panorama of emotions.
I have felt alive every single moment I have lived. I could have been more careful, saved money but would that be able to arrange meetings with all the wonderful people I have met. I forget and forgive easily. Not just others but myself as well. Everyone is capable of making the same mistakes. I make great friends and loads of them, but I’m very bad at keeping in touch. Does it matter? I had a great time with each one of them and I loved them then and I love them now.
My freedom has taught me to respect others’ at all times. Life never works out to a set plan. It will waver. I have found my freedom in letting life lead me to new places.
I am on a boat riding the waves playfully, not knowing which one might break it next, which one might capsize it. But a true sailor trusts the sea more than he trusts the boat. I could choose to sail safer waters, still cross oceans and claim so. But I had rather drift with the wind, ride bigger waves, live a storm and loose my compass. The realization that freedom has a price to pay is an intrinsic part of my thought process.
I am often in trouble, broke sooner than most, my relationships with my loved ones suffer. All in all there is a lot of suffering involved. But that does not bother me the next time I get a chance to do something which could go either way. I am not going to go on and claim this way of living as an ideology, because there are many who would scrutinize it and call it shallow.
Ha! Irony again, eh?
It’s easier to choose here than to claim. For those who do not agree with me, as long as you don’t want me to and don’t ask me to change, it is fine. Doing that would be asking me to let go of my free will, stopping me from doing what I want to and change something that comes naturally to me. The universe is accepting for all of us. We need the thinkers, the workers, the careful ones and the free fallers. Well, I am more than sure that revolutions are often started by the free-fallers. Swimming against the tide requires nothing more than jumping into the river and going the other way.
Reckless yeah, but believe me it mostly works!!