Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The (false) promise of absolute freedom
2:30 AM Life Lessons
Think back to some of your fondest growing up memories, whether as a child or a teenager.
I bet at least one of them involved doing something sneaky and getting away with it, whether it's something as innocuous as stealing from the cookie jar or cutting class in high school. Would those incidents have been half as fun if you had been allowed to freely go ahead and do it? If nobody cared if you had another cookie or came to school - would that have become such a fond memory years down the line? (By the way I'm not condoning lying, skipping class, or similar antisocial behavior. Don't read between non-existent lines. :P)
I was just thinking about it the other day - would it really be that fun having absolute freedom to do anything in the world I wanted? I mean, if I could snap my fingers and get anything I wanted, how fun would that be? After getting a million dollars and spending it, what else would be left to do? There are only a finite number of five star hotels and exclusive clubs and luxury cars in the world.
I wonder if it is the limitations that life imposes on us that actually enhances the enjoyment of what we are able to do. If the things we CAN'T DO help us enjoy the things we CAN DO. I mean, if I had a car or more money to spend, I sure as heck wouldn't spend my nights staying in making silly videos but because of those limitations, I am. And having a lot of fun doing it as well.
I wonder if I'd be half as driven and motivated in my studies and basically everything I put my hands to if I had things on a silver platter since young. If I never had to worry about scholarships and university fees, would I be as driven to score A's? And yet I have absolutely no regrets knowing that it's hard work that's got me where I am. The pleasure of that knowledge is something I would likely have been deprived of had I an easier upbringing.
Growing up, I used to envy friends who were richer, prettier, and so on and so forth. I've gone from being green-eyed to absolutely NOT being a single bit jealous, because think of it this way: if you have had everything when you were young, it's going to be so much harder to maintain that and having anything less than that is going to be painful, because you're not accustomed to it.
For example, I currently don't have to worry too much about money although I still have to watch my budget, as I'm on a scholarship. But, I know that if ever money gets tight, I can survive on little, because I actually have before. On the other hand, if you're used to lavish spending and one day you have to tighten your belt, that's going to suck.
Imagine if you've grown up with people showering you with compliments about how handsome or pretty you are. Or if you were Miss Popular in high school and suddenly, you move to a new town, a bigger uni, whatever - and suddenly, no one notices you or cares about your existence. That'd be a major blow to the ego. I can say this because transitioning from a small Life College to Teesside was yes, I admit, quite a humbling process. But because I've worked my way up and struggled to overcome my shyness once (for someone so opinionated on her blog you'd be surprised how shy I am in person) as a freshman in college, I know I can again.
But growing up in a world with no limitations and never having to fight to overcome them... I cannot imagine that. Not only do people who do lack any fighting spirit whatsoever... they also don't get the pleasure of working your way around obstacles, finding loopholes, creating a better experience for yourself with some effort and creativity than what you originally had in mind.
Absolute freedom is totally overrated. A challenge to overcome instead? Bring it on, baby!