When I was younger (granted this was only about five years ago), I was a big fan of the quote, "Those who sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither." Politically I was just saying that if we give up our freedoms such as religious freedom, to have our government support us and protect us than we deserve neither our government's protection nor our freedom of religion. However on a much smaller more personal scale, I have been going against this quote for the better part of about the last four years.
We strive to find a secure work environment. I lose the freedom to do whatever I want, but at least I have a steady income with relatively good benefits. What does this mean? Have I sold out? Well as far as work goes, I haven't. A) I do want to be a teacher, the benefits just come with the territory, and B) We have yet to see if I'll keep my job without being pink-slipped first. So much for a secure job.
As far as relationships with people outside my family though, I've sold out. Unlike most people my age, I am, as I've stated before a relationship gal. I don't do casual, and I don't go out with acquaintances. This is generally a rule, which I have broken, but quite rarely. I don't enjoy putting myself out on the line. That is something a four years younger Ms. G would do, not the 23 year old Ms. G. That's kind of ridiculous that at 19 I was braver than I am now. I'd like to say I was more wreckless at 19, but honestly, she was just a normal college girl who wanted to find "The One." Whatever that means. I gave up the freedom of choosing to go out and have a good time with other young people for the security of staying home and keeping up my own life. As long as you limit the variables, you can micromanage your life, and keep yourself secure.
Lately, I have been a little unsatisfied with my security, and I miss my freedom. My self-imposed routine and rules that I live by are a little suffocating, even to a woman who's liked rules since high school. With no one to write rules for me, I've written myself into a box. I've written myself as serious, mature, matronly, and ever so slightly cynical/bitter/jaded. The world around me has given me some reasons to be so, but I let it impact me the way it did. The worst thing about it is, I'm surrounded by moderately older friends who remind me all too often (through no fault of their own) that I'm just 23. During my not so misspent youth, they remind me I have missed out/am missing out on a lot of what being a young adult offers.
There are plenty of normal young adult things I'm glad I haven't indulged in. I have not drunk myself stupid. I have never been drunk at all. I have never needed to take an at home pregnancy test, or worry about getting checked out for an STI. Life has been stressful enough without those problems. Instead I missed out on having much of a social life my last two years of college, justifying it by saying, "I won't be here for long." I've done the same thing as an adult, fearing my latest pink slip.
The truth is, "I won't be here for long," can also apply to life in general. I'm not going all YOLO on you all. I agree with Jack Black when he says, "YOLO is just carpe diem for stupid people." Not living forever is not a reason to go out and do stupid things. I will not be scouring the nearest bar Friday night for a hot date Saturday. However I will allow myself a friendly chat on one Wednesday, perhaps even two or three. For me that is letting go of some of that security, and taking back some of my freedom. I'm still a homebody. I'm still serious, mature, matronly, and every so slightly cynical/bitter/jaded. I will still get in exasperating debates with my friends who think I should be doing more with my youth. The fact is, I didn't build this box for myself in a day. It will take awhile for me to be used to leaving it. I am grateful for my friends who have helped me open the box and look outside.