Posts tagged ‘happiness’

February 22, 2011

A question of freedom

by f

Flickr, via Jim Linwood

My friend S’s hit a rough patch. On our way home from the city today, we talked a little about it. Then, she asked me a startling question:

“Which would you rather have,” she asked, “personal freedom, or financial freedom?”

I asked her what she meant by that.

“I have financial freedom,” she said, “and you have a certain degree of personal freedom. You can go and do what you like during the day when your folks aren’t around to interfere.”

“I guess I do,” I said, staring out into the highway abyss.

S has financial freedom, but work eats up her time. She’s on call throughout. I don’t have those constraints. I can tell work to fuck off. And often, I do.

But I don’t have any money. I am always at my parents’ beck and call. They can trash me, my things, denigrate me in public, and use me as a whipping post. They interrupt me constantly. On weekends and the days that I are home, I feel so miserable I can’t think. I have to beg for permission to do anything.

Often, my privileges are taken away on a whim. I am subject to an insane level of scrutiny because I live at home. I earn enough to have small bursts of spending money, but not enough even to afford a small room to myself, and that is how I fund my daily activities. Anything beyond that, I can’t help myself.

So what kind of life do I prefer? Uncertainty but day-to-day contentment? Or security and general dissatisfaction?

I often thought to myself that I’d trade the small bursts of free happiness for a life of security. Now, I’m just not sure what I want. I have no idea how to answer that question.

However, it’s made me think a lot about my daily activities and how I live my life. I know I’m unusual. I fill my time with people that I like and do things I want, but I have very little material freedom.


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October 21, 2010

Boithday Dreams

by f

I’m going to shamefully exploit my powers on Subterfuge and say that it is my birthday. Happy birthday to me.

I’m 24, still in the same town I grew up in, and my shit still stinks.

I got a call from W this morning wishing me a happy birthday and I said to him, “I’d give up just about everything if you could come here,” and he said, “why would you have to give something up?”

He had a point there.

I have wonderful friends, something I’ve really understood only recently. (One took me out to dinner yesterday and another enjoyed a dinner with me today.) I have a great support system. I have a working brain.

I have a cookie stash under my mattress.

Life really can be sweet.

July 31, 2010

A Sandwich Moment

by f

the exact sandwich I'm talking about! from

Soon, W will be leaving for Ithaca. That is eight hard lonely hours away from here. Five, six, seven, any number in between. Eight sticks. It could be less or more, but that is what it is.

For the past week we’ve enjoyed a hundred thousand idyllic moments together. Sleeping in each others arms, ignoring the pain in our crooked spines. We’ve gulped down lemonades and mochas at fifty different Starbucks. Sometimes, we talk at length about Cold War politics. Sometimes, we talk about stupid things, like the fake cute-language we’ve made up between ourselves. We are linguists who like to work with baby-talk nonsense. Sometimes we forget that we’re speaking absolute nonsense and the homeless guy from the table next to us puts down his tepid grimace cup and glares our way like we’re out of our minds.

We’ve had a lot of moments when the impending separation registers with us and we feel depressed. Sometimes these sensations are not synchronized. I see it on his face when he thinks about it, and he knows when I feel the same.

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