Three Times A Free Man

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There have been three times in my life when I obsessed over becoming free.

DRIVING A CAR:

I was willing to agree to anything to be able to drive a car. In high school, I took Drivers Ed Training which wasn’t bad. I didn’t get to do my share of the driving because our Drivers Ed teacher had a crush on the female student I was teamed up with. She was cute and plucky, and he was a big nerd. I endured, and sat in the back seat of the car most of the time. I didn’t care, just so long as he passed me.

Then there was this guy who was probably was eight or nine years older than me, whom I begged and bribed to let me drive his car. He kept upping the bribe, until I ended up backing out. Funny, after we reached that point, the guy let me drive his car anyway. But he was always thinking about favors I could owe him. He was like those aberrant catholic priests you hear about. Once I figured out his game, I was proud that I held my ground.

My parents. Talk about being obsessed over getting my license and driving a car, I drove my parents to distraction. Once I got my license, we only had one car, and that was a beautiful silver blue almost new Cadillac Coupe de Ville.

My mother loved that car, and my father hovered over it like any normal guy does with a car. My father did not want me to drive that car. So I said, “what good is a license if I can’t drive the car?” It was tense around our house. I was soooo set on driving, I would just take the keys out of my mother’s purse and go out and drive. I didn’t care if I suffered the wrath of my father. I knew he wouldn’t beat me, because I was his step son, and the one time he did spank me when I was five or so, my mother told him no more.

Finally, the war over driving ended when they bought me a car. Was I spoiled? Yes. But I had my good points too. I had mowed the front and backyards for umpteen years without an allowance. This was my payday.

Anyway, when I finally broke through, got my license, got a car, and started driving around, I felt this overwhelming burst of freedom. It was the greatest step forward I had ever taken in feeling alive. Freedom is being set free. To go where you want. To do what you want. It’s like a bird flying high.

FINANCIAL FREEDOM:

My next obsession over freedom was my quest for financial freedom.

To succeed in a corporate environment, I had to tame my emotions and hold things in. At a certain level that began to debilitate me. I was thirty seven. I felt crazy inside. I felt emasculated. I started wanting to be free of it. Like I was both depressed and obsessed at the same time. Depressed that I was in this situation, and obsessed to get out.

It was this depression/obsession that drove me to hearing a voice speaking to me outside of my head, telling me everything would be ok, that I would go on doing great things outside and independent of my old profession.

My depression lifted, peace of mind settled in. It was as though I started following a script that led me out of the old into the new.

I can remember the day I was offered 120k from Security Pacific Bank (now Bank of America) to facilitate strategic planning for six weeks. I can remember that moment, that very moment, thinking “the most I’ve ever been paid is 41k for an entire year’s work, now I’m being offered 120k for six weeks of consulting.”

It was an emotion of liberation greater than driving. It was as if I were in a dream state flying over the city. I was overwhelmed emotionally. One time I just stopped the car and sat and dwelled on the surreal experience I was living. I had the feeling I was levitating. That feeling has not entirely left me to this very day, 30 years later.

Since that time, I have never been without clients and money in my pocket.

WRITING:

I have been writing for publication and distribution for 35 years.

To begin, most of my writing was as a co-author or hiring a writer to put my thoughts into written form.

When you co-author you have to compromise, especially when the other author might be doing the majority of the writing. And a ghost writer only approximates what you are thinking. It’s never quite been me, because it really wasn’t me.

Over the years I made some money as a writer (and radio commentator) but not a lot. Definitely not enough to live on if I had to.

Then I took that leap. I declared myself a full time writer.

For the last four years, I’ve written a weekly essay (over 200 now), recorded one eBook, and written maybe 100 radio commentaries. No co-authors, no ghost writers. Just me. And if I had to, I could live on what I’m paid.

I write anything I want. And I do.

You can’t get much freer than that.

For me there’s no reason to write if you don’t write your own thoughts. That’s not easy. People write and say what they’ve heard others say. Communication is a feedback loop.

To write authentic thoughts is challenging. Though If you persist every once in a while your reward is touching the tip of originality. You feel the escape from the pull of culture’s gravity. You begin to see the world through your own eyes. The filters of others’ interpretations of what you see falls away. You fly solo.

Often times I say, “Ah, this is what the founding fathers gave me with freedom of speech” and expression.