Freedom’s Just Another Word
I have never kept a diary, but if I did, it would be to its pages I would commit the seeming banality of the day-to-day, the little goings-on, meanderings of the mind – those projections, deductions, reflections. Yet one of the most engaging forms of prose I am drawn into expressing is similar in that its renderings validate my humanity.
It is in homage to that form that I continue writing, attempting to capture the fleeting feet of the rodent mind, going through patterns of living, scratching lice out of its mousy hair – lice, I mention not because I have ever had direct contact with the tiny humbugs, but because their minutiae seem kin to the scattered outpourings of a brain with little else to do in the expanse of surplus time I have created for myself, these days.
Many would envy my life – I envied my life today, several years ago. It’s funny when we think we have no choice. I yearned for freedom, visualized it. Treasured its presence by my bedside like a good book, carried it with me on trips to the market, turned it over in my head while folding laundry. I won’t say I was obsessed, for that would lack accuracy. It simply became part of my existence, partner to my daily routine, popping in from time to time to relay progress: I am still watching, I am still waiting. I am waiting for you to be still enough, firm enough in resolve, free enough to allow yourself to revel in my company. First the land sale. Then the move. Now this. Time. Freedom. Free time and time for free thinking, moving, being. And for months, I have cringed, run about, run around, run on. The habitual mind, fixated on recreating what has passed, those patterns and grooves and ruts it has known all my life. Or most of it.
What am I doing here? What is my purpose, if not actively employed in helping others? Who am I, then? What use am I to anyone, if I’m simply living life, sharing my days with whoever happens to cross my path, accepting the occasional consultation without pressure to fill an appointment book? Truly, a seeming surplus of time can drive a person mad. I flip through grad school brochures, contemplate another move. I live in Paradise, and I’m contemplating a move! Can I live with the perfection of my life, the freedom to swim in the sea, ride my bike, sit in a local café, enjoy a massage, work in the garden when Chris is willingly, happily even, casting bread upon water? Even when he insists, encourages, cajoles me into doing what pleases me (as clearly it is his opportunity to build a career in this place where mine languishes)? More pointedly, can I actually accept that which I have been asking for? Are we all this way? Are we all perpetually dissatisfied with the life we have created?
In a sense, the answer in my case seems to be yes. The mind so loves problem solving it is bereft with little to do. If I am satisfied, what now? Better create complexity out of simplicity, run the useless errand to fill the day, reinvent the wheel. Over and over. Lately I realize, in a somatic, visceral way, the inherent truth that we are all learning about life, not employment. Not about another, save for how this knowing helps us develop patience, empathy, tolerance, compassion. It appears to be enough, simply being with myself experiencing joy and discomfort, living with the gods and demons of my own making. I am here on earth to learn, whether through the challenge of a job, relationships, unemployment, leisure time, animal husbandry, organic gardening, observing the natural world, whatever.
I don’t really think my soul cares if I’m making money. And how this education plays out is more plan than mere accident. Perhaps to some degree fate dictates choices. I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that it’s not important who pays the bills, as long as that person happily engages work as the medium in which they accept learning what is necessary for their growth, at least for now. Because honestly? Chris would cringe if he had the surplus of time I have acquired. It’s been far less pleasurable to accept leisure time than one might think. Again when I didn’t have it, I craved it. And is this not what we humans do? Grass being greener across the fence and all?
It has taken me six years to accept that I can structure my days any way I choose. What am I worth, if I’m not making money? Or if I am only making it on occasion? Since I have worked one job or another 41 out of 58 years, it seems a necessary question to ponder. And what is discovered in the process – that journey – is ongoing.