Tuesday, January 18, 2011


When I was younger, I watched Rod Sterling's The Twilight Zone. In one episode there was a man who loved to read but never had the time because he had to work and do what his bosses told him to do. Please bear with me as I have not seen this particular episode since then. The man was played by the actor, Burgess Meridith. Anyhow, there was a nuclear Holocaust while he was in a vault somewhere and when he came out, everyone was gone. He was alone. He was in a large city and looking around he discovered that the utilities would continue and there was plenty of food for him to eat and clothes to wear. Most of all there were plenty of books to read and no one to tell him what to do. Then as he was celebrating his freedom, he broke his very thick glasses. That is one of the reasons I did not watch The Twilight Zone very much because of its pessimistic twist which I don't happen to share.

Anyhow, I liked the episode because he finally got his freedom although he did not have companionship. He was willing to sacrifice everything for his total freedom to do what he wanted to do. Later in life when my wants started to outweigh my physical needs, I turned things around and thought that if my physical needs were satisfied then I could give up some of my freedoms. If I lived in Eden, I would just obey the old man that walked around in the garden and not eat from the one tree I wasn't supposed to eat from. Well, I have learned that being human means exercising what was given to all of us, free will.

I realize that I have more degrees of freedom than many in this world, but I want it all because for a while I did. I had the freedom to spend my money where I wanted, go where I wanted, be who I wanted. I am not willing to give that up.

I grew up in the richest country in the world but always had to contend with getting enough to eat, enough clothes to wear and no help from my family in getting an education. They had the money but they spent it on other things. It was spent on my father's hobbies and not on anything else including my mother who had to walk everywhere carrying the groceries and did housework to get money to pay for the little things for us kids and herself. I thought it would have been a neat thing to be in a situation in which I would have enough money to eat, clothes, time to read and a room. Since I worked all of my life without a period of unemployment even when I was having my children I thought having all of the time to do what I wanted to do which would include reading would be pure heaven. To complain about this, would be so middle class, so middle American. Well, I have learned I was wrong.

All those years that I dreamed about living in a tower having all that time to myself, books to read, food to eat, clothes to wear was nice from a distance but not when you have to actually live it. I need the freedom of living life on my own terms even if it means not knowing where my next meal is coming from which in the past I did not know. Maybe that is why I was able to stay employed when I was disabled for such a large portion of my life. There were no people there to take up the slack. There were no husbands, no trust funds, no inherited monies to make sure I had enough to keep the cupboards stocked. If I did not put food in the fridge, there would be nothing to eat. I made sure there was food for my children and me.

I am 66 years old. I will not always be able to be able to take care of myself. I can now, but I have relatives who disagree. They feel they know what is best for me. Someday, I might need that, but not now. Still, this gives me time to get ready to strike out on my own. Right now, I don't have to worry about paying bills. That's a new situation. I don't have to work at a regular job if I don't want to. I am now doing what I really want to do and I have my fingers crossed that it will pay enough for me to "run away" at least for the last part of my life. All of the money that I have coming in is mine. I earned it. I just can't spend it the way I want. I will just have to earn more and that will be mine to do with whatever I want as it is not in the pot, so to speak. I just have to believe I can do it. My doctor thinks I am fine and don't need this sort of care. Thank goodness it is not legal.

I have learned a lot about freedom of late. Being taken care of, isn't enough. Having one's needs taken care of isn't enough. You have to have the freedom to control all aspects of your life not matter how much your guards love you. At least it isn't for me and I suspect it isn't for others as well.

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