I started 2021 with a flu like illness that lasted a couple of days. It may have been Covid. Getting tested and receiving timely results is an issue in Queensland this week. In any case I was fortunate to not be seriously ill. Despite Covid being the most dominant feature of 2022 so far for me, for most of 2021 it was a non-event.
For me, personally, 2021 was a year of travelling the ocean, and making changes to my employment objectives. From April to September I lived on board a catamaran and travelled from Brisbane to Port Douglas with many stops in between. During that time I saw many places and walked on beaches that most Australians will never see. I did not work, or think about looking for work. Life was simple. Daily chores were minimal and even things like preparing dinner was more basic than regular life. My mind was opened to a completely new way of life and I met a lot of people who made choices and saw life very differently from the majority of the world.
Freedom is a strange concept. Part of the Human condition is being part of a community. Wether we want to or not all of us are part of some form of group. Being part of these groups, wether they be families, clubs, communities or tribes leaves us with some responsibilities to act in the best interests of the group as a whole. We are not able to do exactly as we please all of the time because some of our choices impact on the lives of others. So it could be argued that to be a responsible member of society we all have obligations and therefore are never truly free.
But where do these obligations end? How many of the choices we make in our lives are as a result of a feeling of obligation. Or a feeling that it is the expected thing. Many people make financial commitments because of social pressures or expectations of their families. People feel that they are trapped in jobs they don’t like because they have to meet these financial commitments. Once we are caught in this spiral it is easy to feel that freedom is out of reach.
Making the choice to step away from the spiral is difficult. It requires people to let go of things that we are conditioned to think are important. It requires us to go against the grain. It requires us to be different from most of the people that we know. Towards the end of my journey I was asked to provide a prompt for Wicked Wednesday. In it I asked the question; “What is the real world?” This idea that I was living in an alternate universe is tied to the way I was experiencing freedom. It felt as if I needed to step into an alternative universe to be free.
Adjusting to the real world took some time. I didn’t have too many problems resulting in the physical aspects of “real life”. I got to work on time and didn’t miss any meetings. Nor did I get caught daydreaming in meetings. What I did find myself wondering was where I was heading with my job. I knew I didn’t want to stop working but where I was working and how I was being directed to do my job wasn’t what I or my students really needed. On a whim I applied for a new job at an alternative type of school.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye I had a new employer. And so, despite an interruption from Covid 2022 seems like it is a case of out with the old and in with the new.