Is someone free to do something if they are not aware of their freedom? For example, imagine that you were given the opportunity to go on a cruise last weekend, completely free of charge (maybe you were, who knows?). However, you were never told of this opportunity. So, were you actually free to go on the cruise? I would argue that you were not. Being that you were not told of the opportunity, and therefore not conscious of your “freedom”, you were unable to truly make a yes or no decision. And that’s what I feel freedom truly is: being able to say yes or no to the opportunities that life gives you. Looking at freedom from this perspective, we are often limited in our freedom to live in ways that may make our lives happier or more fulfilling. So now, I will attempt to free you a little more.
Imagine the infinite number of things you could be doing right now and the infinite number of places you could be. You could be traveling the world; immersing yourself in new cultures, experiencing for yourself their different ways of life, learning what you truly value about your own culture, and taking in the history of civilization. You could be jumping out of planes over New Zealand, scuba diving off the coast of Australia, or doing whatever it takes to give you that thrill of being alive. You could be inventing things that have never been seen before, using your creativity to form tools and ideas that will make everyone’s lives a little easier. You could be connecting with nature: sleeping under the stars, cooking food over a fire, and savoring the simplicity of the world outside of our everyday life. You could be working a job: learning new skills and building up your funds for a future of even more opportunity. You could be taking up a new hobby: learning how to express yourself through music, challenging yourself on a unicycle, or figuring out how to take beautiful pictures of the details all around you. You could be scrapbooking: reflecting on the past, the people that have shaped your life, and the places you have been. You could be reading (something else): reading the thoughts of the greatest thinkers that humanity has seen, or reading stories that will immerse you in a whole new world and teach you a little about your own. You could be out in the public eye with a homemade cardboard sign, standing up for the values that you believe in and fighting for a system that looks different than what we have now. You could be connecting with other human beings over a cup of coffee: learning about who they have been, who they are, and who they want to be. You could be writing down your thoughts, putting your experiences and the lessons you have learned down on paper so they will float around the world until one day they land in the hands of someone who needs to see them. You could be riding a train across the country, pondering where you want to go next, exchanging stories with the stranger sitting next to you, and fully embracing an exciting life of spontaneity. Out of the infinite possibilities that existence has to offer you at this very moment, you are here.
There. You are free. You now have the ability to look each one of these possibilities in the face and say no, I would rather be here, or yes. Reflect on these possibilities every day, and either you will change the way you are living your life or you will become more confident in the choices you are making. I’m not saying that you should be living a certain way or doing more with your life. What is most important is that you are fully conscious of the opportunities that existence is offering you, and that every single thing you do is specifically chosen from the infinite number of possibilities.