Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Freedoms I Lack

Continuing on our theme of freedom and what it means on a personal level, I present Part Three of the series.  You can find Part One here and Part Two right here.

The Leaves Hang Down

I don’t like to waste a lot of time thinking about how my life would be better if…[I had a boyfriend/I owned some sparkly shoes/I weren’t such an introvert/insert additional wishes here].  What’s the point of cultivating discontent in one’s heart?  Life is happening right here, right now, whether or not you are wearing sparkly shoes!  I think cultivating gratitude is an art and a science: it’s a mindset, a spiritual practice, and the wisdom of taking a walk around your neighborhood and admiring the way the light filters through the tiny leaves.

That being said, perhaps there is also some wisdom in knowing what you’d really love to have or do if you had the freedom.  It gives you something to dream about, perhaps something to work toward.  Here are two of my wishes:

* Enough time off to do some foreign travel.  I’ve said before that I choose to spend my vacations with my family in Michigan, and that’s true.  But I am really looking forward to the first chance I get to visit Italy…or Germany.  Or Syria.  Seriously!  I love Middle Eastern food, and this post made Syria sound amazing.  Some day…

* The privilege of working at home one day a week.  Oh, how I love working at home!  It is so peaceful, and I always get a ton of work done.  My labtime work usually involves a lot of running around and experimental work.  In contrast, when I work at home, I’m analyzing data, making a presentation, reading, or writing.  It’s a really nice change of pace when I can spend most of the day doing deskbound activities.

Are there any items on your “If I had the freedom” list?


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

I am really liking this freedom series! And this is a great topic for consideration. I'm really not sure what freedoms I lack - probably freedom from debt is the main one. I have quite a bit of student loan debt and some credit card debt, and I feel a bit paralyzed when I think about how long it'll take me to pay those off, and how I basically have to have a job until I'm debt free.

I think, too, that being a woman limits my freedom in some ways. Not to bring it to that level, but I don't feel safe walking around at night by myself and I often worry about assault - more so, I'm sure, than your average man does.

On the whole, though, I think I do a pretty good job of living life on my own terms, and I try to look at my limits as opportunities.

Raquelita said...

I'm going to echo Chrissy's sentiments, regarding debt and womanhood. This is why feminism is still so necessary. I would also add, that although I married a man and live a relatively heteronormative life, I sometimes feel limited by the lack of freedoms and civil rights for LGBTQ minorities in this country.

Rosiecat said...

Thanks, Chrissy! Money is, of course, a huge factor in our perception of freedom. Even debt itself is different for different people: we think about student loan debt differently than credit card debt. A mortgage is debt that affects how mobile a person may feel herself to be.

I hadn't thought of femaleness as something that affects my freedom, but I think you and Raquelita are right. For me, I think about how statistically speaking, I am much more likely to be date-raped than stranger-raped, and that scares me a lot. I feel pretty safe walking around at night, but dating is a different story, especially after a not-great experience I had a year ago.

R, I completely agree with you about feminism. To tie that idea with what I said above, I wonder about the extent to which dating culture needs to change in order to reflect consent. I worry that as women, we don't feel "free" to say no, loud and clear. Instead, we demure, we say "maybe," we don't want to make a fuss. We expect men to read our body language, but why are we so afraid to use our words? One idea is that we're afraid of being labeled a bitch. The whole thing makes me so sad.