words
These are just my thoughts.
An essay from 30,000 feet Up.
 As I fly over Alabama, headed back home to Chicago, I reflect on time, life, joy, sorrow, appreciation, ungratefulness, and what all these words mean to me. I should mention that the location I’m departing from is Tampa, FL., more specifically Clearwater. This is where the bulk of my immediate family currently lives (with the exception of my brother, who also lives in our hometown, Chicago). Florida and I have a love hate relationship. Of course meaning I love it and it hates me. I come here to clear my mind, because after all, who wouldn’t? A free place to stay in one of the most serene, naturally beautiful places in the country. A free yearly sabbatical here is quite literally too good to pass up on. But instead I tend to get bombarded with eerie thoughts, waves of depression, and unshakeable anxieties about my past, present, and future. I heard its impossible to have anxiety about the past but my brain proves that theory wrong with every trip here. I forget the joys I had upon arriving, and they get replaced with an emptiness that I could only liken to waking up and realizing you’re the only person left on the planet. What do I have to live for? Most importantly, who do I have to live for? Those two questions are what I hope to answer by the end of this flight, and subsequently, by the end of this essay. Now, allow me to spoil the ending and say quickly, I am not suicidal. Truth be told I thought I was for a while. I was too young to acknowledge my very real emotions and feelings, and in the world of pharmaceuticals and rush-to-diagnose western practices, I was self-labeled “depressed.” But I must say, this is something different. It feels like God blessed me with the precious gift of life, and immediately cursed me with the life purpose of answering the two questions I’ve posed above. That purpose comes with constant trials, and an obscene amount of mental puzzle pieces to be arranged and organized correctly. So I sit here now, tasking myself finally after 22 long years, with putting this puzzle together once and for all. The answer I came up with? Freedom. That one word is, to me, the biggest piece of this puzzle called life. Of course it breaks down into many sub-points, but freedom in its purest form is a blessing that no learned man has ever passed up on. The man who is in jail for the rest of his life wants nothing more but to smell grass again. The little things become bigger than life as each caging day goes by. I ask anyone who has access to a man in that predicament (and there are many) if he was able to have his family in there serving his sentence with him, would that make his situation alright? Of course not. It would make things bearable for a while, and for some not even that, as they would hate for their family to be caged away whether with them or not, but it wouldn’t permanently make things okay. You see, from those men you would constantly hear “I just want to see my family again,” but that’s not the whole truth. They want the freedom to choose to see their family again. Just as much as they want the freedom to choose to not see their family again if they should get on bad terms with them. Take the average American. We all apparently want to become rich. We read about it, talk about it, watch videos about a billionaires daily routine and copy it verbatim for months on in, but to no avail. Why are we all caught in this hamster wheel? Because we are all chasing the most arbitrary noun of the 21st century, success. But it doesn’t have to be so arbitrary, if only we knew what we really had to live for. Well, we do, here comes that freedom word again. The average American really just wants the freedom to travel at will, the freedom to eat a healthy meal without fear of breaking the bank, the freedom to purchase a home based off of taste and not based off of economic status, the freedom to have a family emergency and be able to quickly adjust, knowing their bills are covered for at least 6 months. The topic of happiness, which is the most important success to aim for, is extremely nuanced. Freedom, however, is what I believe to be the most important ingredient to this happiness. So, as my flight descends, I wrap this up with saying, know what you are chasing. We live in a materialistic society that has caged us in a scary cycle of pointless daily rituals. Hustle. Hustle again. Then hustle one more time for good measures. I would be willing to bet that true freedom is hiding behind the curtain of everything you think you want. Fight for your freedom, for the freedom of your family, the freedom of those you love. This is not to sound like a 20th century civil rights speech, as important as those freedoms were. I simply want to share with you the importance of finding your own personal freedoms. Find it and you will never know anxiety again. Knowing when to say no, to me, is more important than knowing how to say it. The greatest freedom you will ever know, is doing everything you do because that is what you chose to do. Not because that is what you have to do to acquire what you think you want. What do I have to live for? Who do I have to live for? The flight attendant is signaling us to stow our things away. So take that freedom word, study it, and allow it to show you a happiness you never knew you’d see.