Freedom could mean different things to different people. It could mean completion of exams for anxious students. It could be the end of tumultuous marriage for a married couple. It could mean transfer from a harassing boss for an employee and so on. Each of us cherish our freedom and want it our way.
Let us examine freedom from a child’s point of view. Every child wants to express oneself without any restrictions. A child wants to study, play or talk depending on the mood they are in. They hate the restrictions on learning through compulsory home work or the system of exams. They also hate parents restricting their play time or hobbies and when they are forced to study. They find it restrictive when they are asked to be quiet by elders especially when they are keen to express themselves.
As you grow into youth, one tends to become a rebellious radical. Every norm of society is a challenge and you feel like drawing your own rules and norms in society. As young adults you want to be the director of your own destiny. You do not like advice unless sought for. You feel better off when you are alone and charter your own future.
Adulthood imposes responsibilities on you. This also feels like needless restrictions on a free flowing spirit. The competitive spirit of the environment around you makes you feel that you are not in control of your future. While you want to work hard, you find it difficult to balance dreams and reality. The inability to pursue your passion makes you disappointed at times.
As you have kids and move to the next generation, you tend to believe that the next generation has more freedom than you ever had. This may not be actually true but one finds it difficult to accept to let go of things you could never do in your childhood or youth. As your kids rebel, reality knocks on your door and you blame the society and environment for this change.
Then as your children grow into adults and have their own kids, you tend to think that they are restrictive on your grand kids. This means a generation gap has already emerged. You re enact what your parents did to you. The cycle of life takes a full circle. It may be time to reflect and restart your view on life.
As we experience life, life teaches you the true meaning of freedom. Is freedom absolute or relative ? In a democracy, we tend to believe that freedom is absolute. However, in reality freedom tends to be relative. Do you have more freedom than your friends, relatives or family members. Even some members of the family tend to believe that they have more freedom than the others.
Even at the work place, freedom is perceived differently by different people. Some feel empowered and take decisions effortlessly. On the other hand, some people in the same organisations in similar roles, feel disempowered. This means empowerment is taken, not given. It takes time and a positive attitude to life and work to understand this concept. Sometimes, by the time one realises this concept, it may be too late.
As in the photo above, freedom could be to be just alone in the hills.
Lets define what freedom means to us and live it the way .
We are born to be free.
S Ramesh Shankar
15th August 2018