Freedom isn't Free

It’s springtime in New York. Birds sing, buds bloom and people roam the city streets with the fervor that comes with freedom. Freedom from the snow, freedom from the cold, and freedom from the tiny spaces we call home. Freedom has a well-deserved reputation for being glorious, exhilarating and intoxicating. But freedom isn’t free. Ask any recent entrepreneur, aspiring artist, or fresh divorcee. (Maybe not any, but many. Some divorcees are aglow.)

There is a cost to freedom that we don’t discuss as much as we do the freedom itself. The price you pay when you don’t know where your next gig is coming from. The discomfort of getting back out there after having been in here for so long. The loneliness of chasing after something that is difficult to articulate and sounds ridiculous when you try. That is the risk you take with freedom. You are completely clear of what you want to be free of but have no clue of what you are freeing yourself for. It is an exhilarating, terrifying pendulum swing.

Freedom means you are free to do what you want -- but it doesn’t mean you will have what you want, or that things will turn out how you wanted them to. Because freedom has a friend in reality. They work together.  (It’s why you don’t jump off the top of a tree expecting to fly regardless of how much time you spend thinking positive thoughts and visualizing ‘I can fly’.) Your reality may be rough right now but your idea of what freedom will be like is just that, an idea. It may be fantastic, it may be a flop. You won’t know til you get there.

I say this not to give you yet another reason to flog yourself over the move you haven’t made yet (you already do this enough). But to suggest that it is possible that there’s a great reason why you haven’t made that move yet. That your inner knowing is speaking to you. That it’s telling you that it’s not time yet to leave your job, leave your partner, leave your home. That it’s OK to still be working a 9 to 5 job that you hate (why not? You love the pay or hours or the benefits or the people or the commute or whatever it was that had your heart soar in that moment when they said ‘yes!’ And when it’s time to go you’ll go. Trust yourself.).

Same goes for your partner or for the city you call home (I say city cuz I only hear it about the city, specifically New York City, where there seems to be an expiration date of excitement, a moment when ‘woohoo!’ turns into ‘get me outta here!’). It’s OK to stay in all of these situations because of what got you into them in the first place. Great care and consideration, a lot of effort and enthusiasm. Don’t throw it all out in your effort to break free.

There is great freedom in choosing your life as it is right now.  In finding compassion and gratitude for the choices that led you to this moment. In finding freedom from the expectations of what your life should have been and could have been. In releasing yourself from the ‘if only’s’. In letting go of, momentarily, the visions of how good your life could be and sinking into the goodness that it already is.

Like today.  The sun is shining, the trees are blossoming, and people are out in droves. Freedom may not be free, but on a day like today, it’s everything it’s cracked up to be.