“Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.” Bob Marley
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F. Kennedy
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” Bob Dylan
Three people with three very different takes on freedom.
2020 was, I thought, going to be my first year of real freedom – retired and no longer a prisoner of work with no need to conform. Like Dylan, I knew there had to be trade-offs to make the most of this new found liberty.
I was also blessed to live in one of the freest countries on earth, what could go wrong?
This morning I checked my phone’s newsfeed to discover that the following were not only illegal but were resulting in widespread public condemnation and derision:
- Having a barbecue in your back garden
- Visiting your Dad on his birthday
- Walking in the Lake District
- Hosting a karaoke party
- Playing football in a park
I know it’s temporary, and probably for the best, though I have to admit it’s making me feel more than just a little uneasy. The police seem too keen to enforce the new rules which is why I’m so glad we’ve got a libertarian Prime Minister who clearly has enacted all this as a last resort.
How ironic that I’d been contemplating freedom and what I’d do with it since the beginning of the year. I’d asked myself questions like:
- Would I want to be on holiday all the time?
- Would I want to give up work completely?
- Would I just eat, drink and be merry?
- Would I lie in bed all day watching box-sets?
The answer to all these questions has proved ‘no’. I’ve chosen not to do any of these things – for the time being at least – to stay fit and to give my life variety, balance and purpose.
Perhaps when the chance of real freedom returns – and let’s hope it’s sooner than we fear – I’ll think a little differently. I know one thing’s for sure I certainly won’t be taking freedom for granted ever again.