I believe in well-mannered freedom. I can’t say I believe in the over generalized word freedom, but I believe in contained, civil, and well-mannered freedom. In the overly hectic, modernized way of life, our ability to choose freedom has been revoked. Or if we do think freedom is still in our hands, it comes along with a distorted, irregular meaning that just doesn’t give the word freedom its justice.
I believe in the freedom that lets me step outside of myself, away from my everyday, completely technological life. The freedom that gives me the chance to extract myself from my chaotic environment and to appreciate every moment of every step I take. I believe in driving a half hour on the Pacific Coast Highway with my friends, just so we can go sit on top of a dirt mountain and look at the beautiful view of the ocean and the houses below us. I believe in leaving our cell phones and our computers and every connection we have to our everyday lives in the car, just ten steps, but miles of fire wire away.
I believe that the concept of technology wired to school drives insanity to every teenager today. The seven hour school day where first period can’t just end at 9:10, but at 9:11, and school can’t just get out at 3:15 but 3:16—because those extra minutes really count. And just maybe, there is that option to give us high school kids a little bit of freedom, but that isn’t in the cards either. I believe in the freedom of a school district to make a school day from 8 to 3, and keep the extra minutes out of the picture. So I can leave my house at 7:45 and just know that it’s going to be almost eight when I arrive to school, and my first period starts. I like being at school, and I like having somewhat of a routine, but I don’t like how school dictates what I must do. I believe in having the chance to take my own route through high school, extracting all the antics that continue to keep my life insane.
I believe that well-mannered freedom keeps me with a good head on my shoulders. Freedom ultimately gives me a sense of maturity; a sense of humanity that only the people who let themselves actually be free can endure. I believe in the freedom that lets us all be individuals, and the freedom that lets everyone express their creativity in their own ways. I believe in the well-mannered freedom that only brings out the good and absolutely keeps out the bad.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.