October 4, 2005

A Cof Reflects on What It Means to Be Free...

12 more weeks of this insufferable grind. 12 more weeks and I am free!

I'm trying to get my head around what that's actually going to feel like. Have I ever really been "free" before? I think not.

In the beginning, there were play-pin boundaries and childlocks. Then came primary school (a welcome relief, its true, but a form of captivity nonetheless). Following this, began 6 long years of concentration camp-like internment, otherwise known as SECONDARY SCHOOL. Many people look back on this period of their young life with a certain degree of rose-tinted fondness. Not me, oh no! I remember....nuns..lots of nuns...and rules. I was told who I could or couldnt associate with, what career path I should choose, how I should look, and how I should speak. I've committed those times to the darkest recesses of my memory, where they remain smouldering, only to be stoked every now and then by a brief encounter with one of the aforementioned tyrants or school bullies.

The start of univeristy life heralded a period of feckless abandon, the illusion of having thrown off the shackles of secondary education, and the beginning of MY life. Ha! What a green little freshman was I! In the short space of a year, not only the bank but also the university owned my ass. Exams, resits, deadlines, account balances, overdrafts, contracts, duels at dawn.....no I was certainly not free, but I did love college.

I emerged from university as a butterfly from a cocoon, shaped, moulded, employable (snort), and up to my neck in DEBT! After a brief and ill-advised spell working in a doctor's surgery (because despite what my college tutor told me, no-one actually really wants an ARTS student. ) I was successful in applying for a position as a Technical Writer. Now I shall certainly experience true freedom, I thought. Where do I sign? Let my star-studded career commence!

Almost a year later, I have become not even an important cog in an important machine. I'm just some crap old cog, buried away in the back of the machine, trundling along, breaking down unnoticed every so often, but yet just necessary enough to have around in case one of the TOP cogs craps out. No, this is freedom neither.

So, what am I do when I am suddenly launched out into the big wide world with little or no deadlines and no one to tell me what to do? Will I be overcome? Will I go nuts altogether? Will I realise I'm just meant to be an old cog after all and turn around and come back? What will be the outcome? What does it feel like to be free?

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