The Oppression of Freedom

The first 18 years are guided. Oppressively so. In our formative states, we require instruction. Say this, don’t touch that, go here, wear this, not those people, study that. As we come into our own — which tends to be faster and earlier than our upbringers expect or hope — we rebel against the oppression. I won’t say that. I won’t go here. Yes, those people. Nevertheless, the guidance remains. Until it doesn’t. Around age 18, choice rears its head. Our first taste of freedom. Go to college. Go to work. Go explore. Ever present the guidance, and yet, a gradual decrease in severity. Suggestion takes the place of oppression. We choose. And eventually, we find our first instance of true freedom. Don’t go to class. Decide on a career field. Travel wherever your heart desires (and budget allows). Eventually, we develop a sense of provision. I need these basic things to survive. I have to sacrifice, otherwise I can’t make rent. First, we sacrifice things. Cook at home instead of going out. Can’t go to that concert. Have to make rent. Then, we sacrifice the will. Have to take this job to make ends meet. I don’t really like the work, but it pays the bills. Then, we sacrifice ingenuousness. I’m very happy with my job. I never saw myself here, but I really found what I’m passionate about. I guess you could say this job found me. Above all, we sacrifice freedom. Say. Don’t. Go. Wear. Not. Be. Precious few will break from that track. Shake things up. Have a crisis. Make people feel better about themselves. We’re still figuring it all out. Figuring ourselves out. We have freedom. But we don’t. We will bask in our detachment from societal norms. The way life is supposed to be. We will celebrate our own independence. This is not a weekend getaway. This is life now. We do the things we always said we would, had we the time. Some days we don’t. We’re tired. We consume. Eventually, freedom loses its lustre. We seek purpose. Meaning. We want to be part of something. We wrestle with compromise. It will mean I have to say this. I have to wear this. Those people. The oppression of freedom drives us back to the start.