To all my friends who believe responsibilities are evil, external
constructions that limit our freedom and personality
People want to have lots of contrary things in their lives, at the same time.
People want to sip cocktails on Fiji while being US Presidents. No wonder they never manage any of them.
I’ve always felt I’ve lived in an environment where people have worried too much. My parents for losing their jobs and whether I have the best or just the second best votes in philosophy. My friends about upcoming tests and exams. My girlfriend about not spending enough time with me. My teacher about me being late from class. And so on, and so on, and so on.
I’ve always thought we’ve been doing very well compared to the world I’ve got to know from books and movies and my grandparents’ stories (mostly about WW 2 and other dramatic times). Trying to build my life from first principles I got to the conclusion that simply for surviving we need to do very little ([…] early hunter-gatherers, like their present-day descendants living in the inhospitable deserts of Africa and Australia, spent only three to five hours each day on what we would call working—providing for food, shelter, clothing, and tools. (Csíkszentmihályi: Flow)). I didn’t want to hunt or gather but was thinking of living off welfare or being homeless.
So one of my high-school goals became living a worry-free life. It included living alone (so I don’t have to compromise), traveling extensively in the world (so I don’t have to be in one place), building up a passive income (so I don’t have to work) and similar.
“don’t” has become my keyword. I thought I was a rebel and a counterculture person.
The years after finishing high-school I’ve got quite close to a worry-free life:
I’d spend a year in Italy, supported by my parents and scholarship programs. I’d have close to no responsibilities. At home I lived next-door to my parents, enjoying all the benefits of the privacy of an own apartment and a caring mother who’d wash my clothes without me, ever having to ask.
I could party as much as I wanted. I could drink as much (or more) than I wanted.
I had all the time of the world to figure out what I wanted.
And unlike most, I took up few challenges (most notably the 2-6 week long ultra-low budget bike trips to new destinations every summer) and took uni seriously enough to receive monthly scholarships.
I could have done a lot more and could have aimed higher. I wanted to write and I wanted to meet a lot of different people, for example.
These things were important for me those days. And still, I couldn’t focus and take them seriously. I had entire days (turning into weeks and months) with no constraints. Living worry-free meant living the dream, being the protagonist of a really cool story. But it didn’t make me feel that good. Remembering those times I can see myself sometimes drowning in an ocean of freedom where I cannot put my feet down to stand straight.
Taking up challenges and –eventually- responsibilities (that I chose, not my parents or teachers!) made me focus and achieve more. Taking a big breath and moving away from home (to another country and culture), taking my relationship more seriously, starting to work in a difficult position: these were all experiences that came with a some worries and all new kinds of responsibilities. They all became constraints, limiting factors to my full-on freedom.
But freedom is not a life free from responsibilities but the freedom to be able to do what we want.
I work now. I have a wife. I have friends. I am to become a father. And with all these constraints I find more motivation to write. I self-publish 2 posts a week and work on my book.
Being where I am now needed a first-hand experience of what responsibility-free freedom meant for me. I’ll never regret dedicating an extended time of my life to it. But no matter how difficult the transition was at times, I’m very happy to have left it behind. And that’s all the advice I can give to responsibility-free loaders: live it to the fullest and don’t be afraid to let it go.
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