Tag Archives: human condition

What is Freedom?

Kid vs Adult

My tween and teen are eager to grow up. To them, like to teen me, being an adult means total freedom. No more parents telling you what to do at home! No more teachers telling you what to do at school! If I wanna eat Cap’n Crunch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while watching R-rated movies round the clock, I will! I’ll talk on the phone to whomever and for however long I want! I’ll play video games until my eyeballs bleed! I can keep my room in whatever disarray I choose, and who cares if I never wash my undies and socks?

A life without limits is waiting for me just the other side of 18!

Those of us who have moved into adulthood know better.  Limits don’t magically evaporate when we turn 18. The secret kids don’t always know is that being a grown up means we just get used to having limits — financial limits, physical limits, time limits, and boundaries held by those around us.

Instead of a parent demanding things of me now, I have children. Instead of  a teacher holding expectations of me, I have a boss. I’m limited in what I can eat and drink by my body demanding that I make good choices — or else. The tyrants in my current life are ones I’ve invited in, and I cherish them.

I’ve been thinking back to when I was chomping at the bit to become an adult. I recall one of my Dad’s dad-isms, things he said over and over to my sisters and me while we naively sought a limitless life.

The other day I searched for the source of his quote on freedom, and I found obscure one by Robert Frost that was similar to my dad’s words. So to further immortalize my dad (and Robert Frost), here is what they have to say about freedom.

Fred Holden & Robert Frost on freedom

“Freedom is room to move in the harness.” — Fred Holden riffing on Robert Frost.

This perfectly summarizes adulthood to me.

What does freedom mean to you?

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