livin’ like a freebird?

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To be frank – my life for the past two years begs the question: am I living like a freebird? It is the title of my blog, after all. But given my 9-5 lifestyle, my 65+ hour work weeks and lack of relentless traveling, most folks would say “No.” Personally, I would say….”Kind of.”

not very ‘freebird-ie’

I was at a show at the Beachland Ballroom a couple weeks ago. I had only heard one of the band’s songs before going in and, as the show went on, found that I really enjoyed the rest of their music. But I wasn’t dancing with the rest of the group, I was just standing and watching, enjoying the tunes that were foreign to my ears.

One of the folks I went with – who I was just starting to get to know – said it didn’t look like I was having fun because I wasn’t dancing. To paraphrase her words: “You don’t look like you’re having fun. You’re not dancing or anything. I’ve been reading your blog and you’re not being very ‘freebird-ie’ tonight.”

Couldn’t help but laugh aloud, as it echoes one of the sentiments I’ve recognized (but not addressed) for a while – plus it’s always nice to have someone call me out, whether they be wrong, right, or a shade somewhere in between.

the angry collegiate vs. present-day me

I created this blog on blogger my sophomore year of college (five years ago), when I hated the college institution and was planning on dropping out and moving to California. At that time in my life, and throughout my college career, I thought that’s what being a freebird was all about. Moving away from where you grew up, non-conformity, immersing yourself in other cultures…THAT was freedom. I talked it up all the time – I thought my shit didn’t stink. Everyone knew I was planning on moving to California and everyone believed I would – including myself.

But little more than a year ago, literally a month before I was planning on leaving, I realized that being free wasn’t about location. I confessed to myself that I had changed and just didn’t want to go anymore. I was happy with what I was doing. So I tossed aside my “dream” of moving to Cali and felt more free than I’d felt in a while – for the first time in a long time I wasn’t perpetually looking toward that horizon when I would pack up and head out west. I became free in spirit as well as in deed, deciding that if you feel free, you ARE free. To quote the Eagles – “So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains. And we never even know we have the key.” And just like that I found my much-sought-after freedom.

Now don’t get me wrong – I won’t be in Cleveland forever. I feel it’s a healthy thing to move away from the ol’ hometown for a time to experience life where you don’t know all the crossroads and county lines. I still want to venture beyond Midwestern borders for periods longer than a week at a time for stays that aren’t dubbed as “temporary.” I’m just not sure when it will happen.

actual reality

Are we hypocrites? Are we all what we really claim to be? We as a people love labels and nicknames – it gives us more with which to identify and something we can emotionally connect with. I dubbed myself a freebird for a long time via this blog and found myself – four years after assigning my own label – finally grow into this role, albeit hesitantly.

No matter what labels to which we have been assigned, no matter how others view us, we are in control of our lives. Whether we’re $30K in debt, whether we have a child, whether we’ve just been dumped by “the one” – everything we do begins with choice, no matter whether you believe in predestination or free will. We still choose. We just need to find the will and the energy to make those choices actual reality.

And I look in the mirror as I say this.

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
– William Earnest Henley, Invictus

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One Response to “livin’ like a freebird?”

  1. Aunt Ann Says:

    You choose your style of living – if it’s the free bird style – yea! If it’s more of a tucked away style – yea also! It’s all in who you are and what you think you might want to be. How others perceive you is not important as long as you’re good with yourself and don’t compromise yourself or your family or friends – that’s all that really matters. And by the way, I do like knowing where all the crossroads and county lines are – but then, I did move away from the ole home town and so I’ve had experiences you refer to (ooops, never end a sentence in a preposition:)). Anyway, to refer to an old cliche, it’s always nice to go back home. But when you’ve had several homes, I find it is also always nice to come back home i.e. the most recent place of one’s residence. Home is where you are at the moment. Love your blog and love you.

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