Guess where I’m sitting right now? Well you won’t. At my maybe favorite cafe in Helsinki (Carusel), sipping on my chai latte (made to oat milk, THE best!) And it feels really really strange. You know why? Because for the past 12 years in this moment I’ve been sitting in school, in lessons, living my ordinary life whose rhythm has been conducted by well, Finnish government. And now I’m not. Did I say it feels strange?
So, about this funny thing I’ve stumbled upon recently. Some would call it freedom. What does that word mean? Say it out loud and let it echo in your head for a little while. It can probably be found in too many god damn pinterest pictures and quote websites and instagram feeds. Feels like it’s something that everyone wants but no one explains. And most importantly, no one explains how it feels.
I think what we mean when we talk about freedom is being free of our responsibilities, obligatory routines, maybe school work, work in general, challenging relationships, other not always so nice stuff called life. But what we are also free of are all the safe habits and routines, of everything we have built our life around, everything safe and nice and warm and fluffy. And when POOOOOF, all that disappears under your feet, what we are left with is well, ourselves, and a looong fall. And I don’t know about you but I’m not always comfortable with falling or spending time with me 24/7. Seriously, where is that travel company that would offer these getaways to Hawaii from ourselves? I consider to be a friend of me but still, no relationship is perfect. Sorry, I got carried away.
Freedom gives you a terribly big empty space to fill and so terribly many options to fill it with, which is why I’m not surprised if some of us get anxious. Because I did. It felt so good and so terrifying at the same time: having days with nothing planned to do, no alarm clocks, no books to study, no idea of where I will be a month from now. Or months. A year. I was lucky to get a job quite quickly after school ending which filled some of the… nothingness (I’m such a word inventor). But I’m still a little confused when having free days. I have to pinch myself and give myself a tiny little talk: ”hey Julia, what should we do today? Did you mail those graduation invitations already? And send email to that university? And why are you looking at some flights but haven’t cleaned your closet? AND you need to call your granny about that visit there!”
Freedom forces you to think of yourself and especially what it is that you truly want in a whole new level. I’ve talked about this with so many of my friends and it’s no wonder that it leaves so many of us scared shitless. It’s like walking into those candy stores with sooo many different flavors and colors: winegums, chocolate, toffee, lollipops, hard candies, soft ones, marshmallows. And if you’re like me you don’t only want chocolate but marshmallows too and gosh, there’s just so many choices! And you also don’t want to spend all your money there.
While this candy metaphor got a little confusing I will naturally continue to use it. I guess freedom tastes like those sort of sour candies you know? I hope you know because otherwise this is going to sound weird. They look really sweet and are covered what might be thought as sugar, but for real is some sour sugar looking shit which makes your mouth water and I don’t know about you but makes me gasp. But after that layer is gone, it’s sweet again.
Because that’s how it feels in the end, really sweet. Sometimes even like a cloud made of cotton candy. Sorry this candy thing won’t stop :)) But really: I can sit in a cafe and drink my precious chai latte and there’s also a cute dog next to me. And tomorrow I’ll be sweating at work but in the evening be so tired that I fall asleep immediately which is something that hasn’t been happening to me in years. I can make so many cool traveling plans (some of which are probably going to take a huge portion of my salary but I guess this is one of those rare situations where you can use this wonderful expression called yolo) and there are some so exciting trips happening in the near future that make me smile from ear to ear even when walking home in the cold rain that we like to call Finnish spring. I can go to long runs and go to yoga in which I have during the past months made more progress than in the whole few years I’ve been practising it. I went out to photograph after a long time and having a camera in my hands again felt a little confusing but so nice, a bit like meeting someone you haven’t seen in a long time but really missed. I still have lots of this nothingness and uncertainties to fill but if these are just some of the things I’ve got in my life right now what the hell do I have to worry about? Or you, if you may find yourself in the same kind of situation. Please, hear me out now when I’m going to answer my own question: Nothing. Nothing at all.
So I’d like you to meet my new best friend. You might now her already. She’s called Freedom. And I think you are going to get along really well.