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Freedom

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By Foster Garrett
Intern Writer

    Freedom: It is what every person desires yet only the bravest achieve.
    Freedom from war, from persecution, from inner conflict; the freedom to be yourself and to love whoever and whatever you choose; freedom of the wildest nature and of the most tranquil peace; freedom is desired on every level, in every form, by everybody.
    Young people strive for that taste of freedom. Whether it be breaking away from our parents, performing reckless and dangerous acts or even just touching the plate even though we know it’s hot, teenagers impulsively – instinctively – want freedom.
    Recently, I visited New York City for the first time on a school trip. The sheer size of the Big Apple was breathtaking – intimidating – even if it was not quite beautiful. The city reached far into the sky and deep under the earth, and everything was always moving and lit up with the brightest of lights.
    On the last night of our trip, we decided to visit the Empire State building.
    It was after an exhilarating broadway performance of the Phantom of the Opera and at the changeover between late night and early morning that I stood on the edge of the 86th floor balcony and gazed out onto “the Capital of the World.”
    Golden taxis like little wind-up toys zoomed through the latticed streets, framed by the cinder block towers that seemed not quite so close to conquering the sky as before. A light smog blurred the city below, although the air I breathed felt crisp and cold. The wind bit at my face and my eyes watered, but no cars honked and no people shrieked and the whole world moved like a silent film. 
    Anyone could become a drop in the ocean below - and that was a freedom in itself - but to watch the lives of the tiny people thousands of feet below unfold? To stand on the precipice of the vast city of New York and see it reduced to a child’s play table?
    Not only was it freeing, but it was peaceful and powerful.
    We returned home the next day, and the Monday after just so happened to be my birthday.
    Turning 18 was just like every other birthday, except it came with some legal benefits as a side dish instead of presents (just kidding, my family and friends love me – I got gifts).
    I am going to be honest though – I know more about composing the perfect tweet and “potpourri” Jeopardy facts than I do about adulting.
    Taxes? Voting? That tricky insurance stuff? Count me out.
    Sure, I technically have a lot more freedom, but what’s the use if you don’t know how to actually use half of it?
    This sent me spiraling into a brief existential crisis of “oh god” before I realized – oh, wait. Foster, you have time to figure this out. Stop freaking out; you’ve really got to chill.
    (Even my self-reassurance sounds millennial.)
    Right now, I’m just going to enjoy my life, finish high school, and try not to think about that creeping feeling of “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
    Freedom is beautiful and powerful and desirable, but maybe I should just take it one step at a time.