Finding freedom

He had been running around. Running all over the place. Running on empty. Frantic. In a frenzy. Smartphone in hand. Looking urban and edgy. Tired. Weary. Lonely, if the truth must be told. But still running, and wondering why. It seemed like forever since he had even noticed the birds or the sky.

Forty-five “friends” on Facebook called for his attention today. Sixty-two emails magically appeared in his inbox. The phone kept on ringing all day. And walking home from the office, he was greeted by dozens of fourteen-second ads on a four-foot-wide flat screen TV. The carefully crafted images seemed more real and more appealing than his reality. For today was only Tuesday. The weekend was a long ways away. Felt like it would never come.

Settling into his favorite chair, his attention was quickly riveted on one thing after another that was apparently missing in his life. Then again, maybe something was?

No, he didn’t need another remote control device complete with twenty-five bewildering buttons. He had enough. More than enough of those. If only he could find the one he needed right now to change the channel. That would be nice. It must be somewhere in that pile of magazines and books and papers over there by the couch. Ah, there it was. It was parked on top the 250-page manual that was required reading to make it work. What a nightmare! It took one of his friends two weeks just to figure out how to turn his TV on. So much for living in a progressive modern world.

Another day…and another computer system somewhere goes down.

Technology. All of these gadgets were very nice. They worked well, when the worked. They were luxuries that many people living in less fortunate parts of the world would have longed for. What would the world be like without the Internet? Without cell phones and voice mail and television and cars and airplanes and skyscrapers, etc.? These innovations had added a lot. But, at the same time, sometimes it felt as if technology had taken over his life. In fact, right now he was struck with the realization that a combination of people and ideas and things had pretty much completely taken over his life.

For all the talk about a new level of cultural freedom he was feeling more controlled than he ever had been. More confined. He seemed to be drifting along for the most part. Doing and thinking and living as he was told. He could, for example, believe whatever he wanted as long as he chose to believe that. The extra activity he had inadvertently signed up for now appeared to be a necessary part of this philosophical package. It served to cloak the aching emptiness that turned up everywhere as a result. Slowing down, taking the time to stop and think…that was the real danger now.

How could he ever hope to develop a clear sense of direction in his life if he was buying into this way of thinking and always incredibly busy?

Is this how he wanted to keep on living? Bouncing from one sound bite and one image and one experience and one complicated device and one demand and one belief system to another? The other day he noticed a fellow on the street with a slogan on his shirt. This is what it said: “THINK: It isn’t illegal yet.”

The view was beautiful from up here. Fifteen floors up, his condo had a commanding view of the skyline and the surrounding area. But who had the time to take it all in? The city lights, the river winding out into the bay, the ocean off in the distance, the ships coming in…it was too much to process in a moment or in a lifetime. Images were coming back from the rover on Mars now. There they were, in high-definition, on his TV. And how did they compare to the view from his balcony?

Turning around, and walking back inside, he came to one clear conclusion: This planet, this place, was made for living; and it was time to take action in a whole new way and finally begin to live his life.

© Career & Life Direction 2012. All rights reserved.


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