This morning as Coldplay’s “Life in Technicolor II,” plays on my I-pod I cannot help but think of that one time that I was truly free. And every time I hear “No cars go,” or “Daylight,” I cannot help, but tear up a little and smile.
I think that every couple of years you are free. I believe that what traps us back is our wanting to do more and be more. Our motivation for survival will lock you back in until you have the time and money to escape again. By escape I do not mean a vacation. By escape I mean into something else and someone else. It is to re-discover the world around you. I also believe that this freedom is not something that just comes in our lives as we sit and wait. It is something that we must make room for. Every once in a while we must plan to open the cage door. And this must be done for a long time, because for the initial stages of freedom you wouldn’t know that the door was open. Living in a cage for so long, even once the door is open, you wouldn’t know how to get out.
That is why 2 years ago, while going to college full time and working 14 hr work days as a supervisor, I saved up for my freedom. I did not know what I would be doing; I just knew that I would be free soon. I told my managers and friends that I will be leaving soon, but I didn’t know where or when, I just felt that it was time.
One day during another one of my long shifts I took a 10 minute break. I told my manager at the time that I needed to make some calculations and if they were correct then it was my time to go. Ten minutes later I put in my notice.
It took me for what it seems like forever to feel comfortable with my time. For once the time was truly mine. It took me for what it seems like forever to get rid of as many watches as possible and live without an alarm. To wake up every day and not know what was waiting for me. To remember when the sun would set and go to bed when the sun would rise.
This was during the summer, so I did not have classes to attend; nothing to wake up to, no one to look after and no one to keep track of me.
One day my childhood best friend invited me to an 12 person bike run for the end goal of giant pizza exactly 100 blocks south. I replied, “Why not?” After that a lot changed.
I for once felt truly free. Everyone that I met that summer I have never known before. Most that I met that summer I no longer speak to, but not because of anything that occurred, but I think there was a mutual understanding that this was a world that would only exist then and never again.
I left everything that ever bothered me behind. There was no one to remind me of who I was, just people who reminded me of the person that I wanted to become.
That summer all I woke up for was ridding, performing and bartending. I had three different lives and like a polygamist with three different wives, they all loved each other, I loved them all and none interfered with the other.
The train door opens at Canal street and for a second my mind blanks out. I felt somewhat lost again. I do not regret having a 9-5 and I do know that one day soon I will be truly free again, in a dissimilar way.
What I learned from that summer was that the freedom depends on you. You are the one who opens the gate in your cage. This will allow you to bring those who you want in, kick those who you want out and best of all, it will allow you to leave as you may and come as you please.