I want more freedom.
Scratch that, I need more freedom.
Freedom from the pressure of having a career deemed acceptable by society. You know, the one that will support a house in the suburbs, two cars and two-point-five kids.
Speaking of kids, I would also like freedom from the constant questioning of when I am going to join the breeders club. I didn’t realize my vacant uterus was now polite dinner conversation.
Most significantly, though, I want freedom from being saddled with debt and material possessions that are not making me happy.
Over the last year, I have spent a little over four weeks traveling across Canada in a van. Not an RV or a trailer, a Dodge Caravan with a mattress shoved in the back.
I woke up in a new place every morning and got to meet interesting people and experience new adventures. I snorkeled with Humpback Whales, kayaked with Orcas, hiked parts of the east coast trail and in general got my ass outside where I could revel in natures beauty and historical sites.
It was the most significant experience of my life, an experience that is making me rethink what I want.
I used to want the things that most other people my age want. A well-paying job that said to people, “I’m successful.” A nice house with a backyard, a garage, and of course a closet that would make Carrie Bradshaw turn green with envy.
I’ll be honest, I grew up in a poor family in an impoverished neighborhood.
All I ever wanted was to get to a place where I didn’t have to worry about paying my bills and to have a little extra cash to go on vacation and out for dinner when I wanted. At the time, it seemed like the epitome of freedom. I could live a life where I didn’t have to worry about paying my rent and I could buy food that wasn’t on sale? Sign me up!
So I followed the scripted path that society laid out for me.
I took out some student loans and I went to University. I was 18 and had no idea who I was, let alone what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. To me, that was a question that privileged people asked themselves. I had real problems. I had experienced poverty and the social consequences of it. I just wanted to get in and out of school as fast as I could so I could start making money and get as far away from that life as possible.
So here I am, 32 years old with a university degree, working a “respectable” job, making shit money and still paying off my loans. Luckily I have a husband with a good job so I now live the comfortable life I had dreamed of as a kid.
The problem is, I am still not free.
I wake up every day and go to a job I am not in love with, surrounded by people who very overtly dislike their job as well. I look outside and see concrete and traffic (figuratively, of course—I am not fortunate enough to have a window in my office). I feel pressure to look a certain way and therefore spend far too much money on getting my eyebrows done, purchasing beauty products so I can still look 20, and keeping my wardrobe fresh and up to date.
On top of that, I am trying to sell my condo to buy a house. A house that comes with a mortgage I will be saddled with for pretty much the rest of my adult life.
I’m chained down and I am not sure why.
It all feels incredibly unnatural.
Sitting in an office with fluorescent lights.
Buying things I don’t need.
Looking at houses that are too big for my needs because it will have better resale value.
All I want now is simplicity. I want to want less. I feel like wanting less would allow me more freedom to do exactly that—be free.
Freedom for me is being who I want to be, regardless of the opinion of others.
Freedom is being honest about what I think without a misguided organization belittling me.
Freedom is being happy without the weight of material possessions.
When you think about the small amount of time we occupy on this planet in relation to the millions of years life has been sustained here, our time is over in a snap of the fingers.
I don’t want to look back and think I wasted a minute. That I spent time around people I thought were bad or did a job I didn’t like so I could buy things I did not need.
I want to look back and say that I did and was who I wanted to be.
No compromise. No pressure from the outside world.
The clock is ticking and freedom is calling.