I worked like hell in high school, and got into a good college. I worked like hell in college and got into a good law school. I worked like hell for two of three years of law school, ensuring good opportunities thereafter. (I found it psychologically impossible to take law school seriously my third year. I paid the price. Bye bye, magna!)
Why work hard all that time? Well, money is part of it. I want to be comfortable and provide well for my family. Opportunity is part of it. I wanted to be able to work at exciting and rewarding jobs.
But most important of all, I wanted — and now have — the incalculably delicious freedom to say "fuck off."
There's no freedom greater than the right, and practical ability, to tell an asshole to take a hike, and then shoulder the consequences. Whether it's having the alternate opportunities and savings necessary to walk away from a job when your superior is a jackass, or the freedom I enjoy now to turn away clients who think that paying me means they can treat me like shit, that freedom allows us to define how we want to live our own lives and what what sort of nonsense we are prepared to accept from the people surrounding us. There have been few things more empowering then telling a client "you're fired" and seeing the client recognize that, yes, I can do that, because I have done the work and made the sacrifices necessary to put me in a position to do it.
But freedom requires responsibility. Life is full of opportunities to surrender freedom in exchange for something — good pay, prestige, living in a particular neighborhood. You've got to be ready to give those things up, or ready to refuse them in the first place when they are inescapable. I've never understood how people would think that living under the thumb of a homeowner's association was an acceptable trade for living in a particular neighborhood. Like this guy, you could play around at the edges by putting your inflatable rhinoceroses on the roof rather than on your lawn to escape the letter of HOA rules, but ultimately you're going to pay the price for having surrendered your freedom. Hey, if the house was worth that surrender, then fine. That's your choice. I make choices to surrender freedom when it is worth it as well — by having kids, for example. But think about it, for heaven's sake.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- About Clark Being "Purged" From Popehat - May 24th, 2017
- The Dubious "Anthony Weiner's Accuser Was Actually Over 16" Story, And Why I'm Very Skeptical - May 22nd, 2017
- Lawsplainer: The Remarkable Anthony Weiner Guilty Plea - May 19th, 2017
- The Elaborate Pantomime of The Federal Guilty Plea - May 8th, 2017
- A Disturbing In-Flight Experience - May 1st, 2017