Freedom

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask….Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
– Jim Morrison

 

I’m on vacation this week. For five blissful days, I am completely free to do whatever I want, fill the hours however I see fit. And, knowing me, said hours will be filled with as much time in front of a computer and sweating at the gym, as possible. That wasn’t always the way I spent my free time, though.

I work at a university, and watching the students complete their final exams reminded me of the kind of freedom I felt when I was an undergrad. That feeling of spending a full week shoring up all the knowledge I’d gained in the past few months and then putting it on display. The anticipation and nerves of finally presenting that paper, exam or presentation, and then the release of knowing I was done. That high of completion. Exhaling that deep breath and letting myself finally relax, knowing I have whole days before me filled with absolutely nothing. It was a beautiful thing.

Now, as an adult, that kind of freedom is hard to come by, except rare moments at the beginning of a short vacation, and also, perhaps, on New Year’s Eve. With a whole year behind you, full of mistakes and achievements, you stand at the cusp of a new dawn and present yourself fresh again. You let go of whatever was holding you back in the last calendar year. You stand at the precipice of opportunity and reinvent yourself. You become free of the past.

Freedom. That’s my resolution. To be free of fear, free of the things that held me back. Free from the doubts that keep my fingers captive in a plague of writer’s block. And maybe, just maybe, lose those damn last ten pounds.

Happy new year, everyone.

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