No one teaches us about the power of radical freedom, and solitude. They come along with all sort of emotions and, eventually, you need to face them when you least expect them. Why combining both at once? I recently started learning to sail in the open sea, and while taking practical classes and studying various themes, I thought exactly about the impossibility to decouple freedom from solitude. Especially when you are out in the open sea, making a distress call.
We are taught somewhat otherwise. That there is always the society and its limitations. We crave freedom and space but we are also told about all the dangers surrounding us, if we choose this kind of journey. In order to navigate it, you need a lot of sensitivity, insight into your inner voice, and discipline to remain safe. And we are told, it is one of the most difficult ways to live your live.
I have been fantasizing and preparing for years to be radically free, but there is probably no way to project it. Because creating bonds with your friends, partners, or family enriches our lives but eventually, you will end up all alone at some point, sooner or later. The career you’ve been working on for so many years may end up abruptly because of the economic cycles or for no reason. And as it ends, it will surely hurt at first. But then, you will depart from your previous point of reference not missing anyone, and not being missed. You will learn to embrace the moments of leaving a place where no one will be waiting, and arriving somewhere where no one expects you, and you are free, and alone at the same time. I will not even focus on the dilemma of ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from’. I don’t think there is a better place to experience it all than in the open sea.
I have ended my longest-enduring relationship so far last month (although the process of separating went on for a much longer period of time), and I got notified about the redundancy, a few weeks after. Two major crises at once, in the midst of the ‘tech winter’ and the humanity being pretty much fucked up after the years of the pandemic deprivation. Since I like to stay in touch with the reality, no matter how tough it is, I have been preparing for both crises in a way, with a long-term and in-depth therapy, asking myself and answering the most uncomfortable questions and bracing myself from all the angles: psychologically, physically, and financially. I surprised myself how strong I was. And while I do not know where this journey will take me, I stay calm, and at the same time, excited about what I will find out on the way. The winter will eventually recede. And I hope that the humanity undergoes some sort of cathartic activity through all these tough years.
Freedom is ambiguous, and there is no one to do the heavy lifting for you. There are life hacks and shortcuts, but they have their own price. You need to learn about being truly independent and it comes with its limitations. It comes with so much choice and so little time, at the same time. There are days and hours, when you will be very confused. Your friends will call you out on being contradictory. There are days you will use up all your energy, surprise yourself and be very creative and the other days you will barely get through the day and feel very numb. And it is ok not to be always ok. And it is even more ok to seek ways to get better. You need to create your very own set of safety mechanisms, and identify the distress before making the call. Put the metaphorical oxygen mask before helping others. Exercise self-compassion, self-love and self-reflection. Calculate your runway. Plan and execute what you can. Think about living without a goal for what you can’t, or define the anti-goals and know what happens a step away from it.
And this is where the bespoke magic happens. Once you don’t chase anything, you find a very powerful energy in you to be curious, be courageous and be resilient whatever your day brings, and it may surprise you in all the possible ways. Not being happy, not being sad, not needing much, just observing the world around you, while taking a step at a time. Or as my friend says, crossing the bridge when we get there. I am speaking a lot about the true meaning of the emotional resilience and agility recently while weathering the storm on a professional level, but I guess, the major learnings come from how I navigate the personal. Is there even a division between the private, and the political these days, I don’t think so.
It is also a very uncomfortable yet exciting state of not knowing what comes next. Being in control on a meta level of emotions, finances and your physical health (including sleep, sports, and diet), at the same time exploring the new data that enter our system and act accordingly. Looking back, I recall some character building and life forming years which led me to a completely different place than I would have expected. These would be the years I would depart from an important person in my life, a career, or a country – voluntarily or not. I would have grieved after the people, the places and still accept the fact that the only way is forward and we may need to leave people or places behind to evolve. And while you don’t know what the future brings, you can take control of how your emotions affect you, and have no urge to switch them compulsively, as some people do.
Then, you are somewhat irresistible. Even if I consider myself privileged, there is a lot of work and preparation that went into building that personal wealth, and it has been fucking hard at times. I am writing all this because some of you may wonder, how I am doing. I am doing fine, and there is a lot to it. And while I have all the freedom in the world, I don’t feel the urge to travel the world, to meet people every day, to act out, or to change the world. I keep looking at my Northern Star and remain calm while weathering this storm. I have been through a lot and can share all about the coping mechanisms and survival through the darkest moments but also, what happens when you get excited about the the possibility of something new coming up your way. I may travel here and there, I may meet some people, and help someone on the way to build something and get paid for my intel. But I avoid using great quantifiers or statements. I may also change the course as I am alone, and I am free to do anything I want to.
I am thinking that there are so many misfortunes in this world which are major, and there will be more trying times, while my personal crises mean nothing in the larger scale of events. This is why I want to keep that emergency channel clear for others, and metaphorically go ‘over and out’ to focus on sailing my little boat called life.
If you read this, you can check in from time to time, or join me for the part of the journey, you are welcome. The majority of it I will navigate alone, and will take this current gift of freedom very seriously, and responsibly. This is not a distress call, this is a routine weather forecast prognosis to all the vessels in my radius.