Kaleidoscope 29/40: We are more free than we think we are...

Kaleidoscope 29/40: We are more free than we think we are...
The Kaleidoscope Mosquito...

Hello friends,

In 1762 Jean Jaque Rousseau penned:

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains"

He intended it to illustrate the tensions between societal constraints and noble, natural freedoms, which I don't fully buy, but I do love the concise and memorable phrasing.

So I'm going to update it to suit my own proclivities:

Humans are born free, yet everywhere, we put ourselves in chains.
- Rebecca

While yes, undoubtedly, society put some constraints on us, far more, we put the constraints upon oursleves.

We tell ourselves we can't do something because it is hard, or uncomfortable, or, god forbid, inconvenient.

We tell ourselves we can't do something because it would be risky — we might end up rejected or looking foolish.

Or we can't do something because, we don't have the resources — the time, the money or the energy.

But the truth is, we are far freer than we believe. We have near-infinite options.

And it is possible to change our minds and our actions to reflect this reality.

What am I stopping myself from doing?

When I was young I lived on top of a mountain, on a dirt road. Truly remote.

I had an incredible sense of freedom.

I would strip down naked to jump into the old mine pit that had filled with water, long after my age had passed “socially acceptable” to do this. I had no idea.

I would run through the woods, with seemingly endless territory to explore and conquer.

My family would trudge down, late at night, in the freezing cold snow, to look at the stars, so bright you’d think you could reach out and kiss them.

There was a lot of freedom. And I have a lot of nostalgia for that freedom.

But, what I don’t often think of is all that we did to embrace the freedom.

We had an entire SEASON called mud season. And you can bet I came inside, covered, head to toe in mud. Happy and cold — but decidedly inconvenient.

Right along with mud season was black fly season — which lasted most of the warmer months — when my brother and I would wear bee keepers head protection, just to go outside. I remember getting on our bikes and trying to outrun the swarm. I can't imagine myself making that choice today.

The mine that I swam in with glee? Full of leaches. When we’d get out and do a leach inspection, dousing any that got between our toes or under our arms with salt to melt them off. GROSS.

Much of the year, the mountain was covered in snow. Everyday I would suit up in my boots and hat and mittens to go out and enjoy the freedom.

Don't get me wrong — I LOVE my mountain and I had a delightful, idyllic childhood. But...

When I think about it, the freedom had more tradeoffs than I remember.

And so it makes little sense that today, when I am arguably far free than childhood, I find myself making arguments that my world is smaller than I want it to be.

Because of the weather.
Because of my responsibilities.
Because of the hassle.

Yet, none of it makes me un-free.

It might make it harder. Or less convenient. Or more work. Or different.

Freedom doesn’t mean easy.

And when I can embrace that, I realize that I’m far more free than I think I am.

You are too.

Until tomorrow,