While I’m not some kind of anti state neo liberal nutter who dreams of living in a cabin in the woods with a shotgun, solar panels and a stockade, freedom has always been important to me. As a teenager, I vowed that no one would tell me what to do once I turned 18 (unless they were an employer). That didn’t work out so well, as some of you will know. Then I became a carer. And like many carers, it often feels as though my life is completely controlled by others: from the needs of those I care for, to the demands and policies of a state that (sometimes) provides services and supports.
But if I look hard enough, I can still find little nuggets of freedom buried away in hidden corners of my life.
Clear skies and busy streets
I’m back to full time intensive caring, but in a change from the usual pattern, it involves getting out of the house, rather than staying in it. I much prefer this, as you can imagine! So no cabin fever, lots of fresh air and exercise, the opportunity to put things into perspective when you see the troubles of others and freedom to wander and explore familiar and different corners of Dublin.
Thanks to needing less sleep than anyone else in the house, that hour between 5.30 and 6.30 am is all mine. Unless my disabled daughter decides on an early start too! Otherwise, I have an hour to catch up, clean up, caffeinate and shower and I’m then reasonably ready to face the day ahead. That hour of freedom is very important to me.
Coming and going
For years trips out in the car with my disabled daughter have had to be planned carefully to make sure there would be parking outside the house when we returned. The opening and closing times of the school just up the road have to be avoided as well as match days at the nearby sports stadium.
But now I finally have a disabled parking space painted on the road outside my house: I applied last November, but it took a team effort led by Ciarán Delaney and Senator John Dolan to make it actually happen. Now it finally has and I am very grateful to everyone who helped. It’s a public disability space on a public road, but it will make it much more likely that our parking issues will mostly be in the past, giving us a bit more freedom to come and go as we please.
Netflix in peace
Currently my evenings are spent watching TV with one of my young adult children, so I have a lengthening Netflix list of must watch programmes… Luckily the iPad stand and some budget wireless headphones have come to the rescue and if you dropped by my house in the early evening you’ll find me preparing dinner with one eye on a pot on the stove and the other on a favourite show. While my children watch theirs. A bit of freedom for all of us, I guess.
I know that running is not for everyone. I know it’s hard and tiring and slow and heavy and even miserable when you start, or start back. But if you can stick with it, running turns into something else entirely. You can hit a sweet spot where you can jog along effortlessly as you chat to friends, or run a bit faster when you want a challenge. And then you see a perfect stretch of path: long, straight, smooth with a slight downward incline. And your legs just want to go. So you do. And you run faster and faster and you feel like you could accelerate indefinitely.
You know what that feels like?
It feels like freedom.
And in a world where we all seem to have less and less control, that’s a very heady feeling 😍😍
So for me every golden nugget of freedom is precious. Search them out and treasure them as I do, it really helps.
Sharing with reasons to be cheerful, hosted this week by Mummy From The Heart.