Friday, October 06, 2006

If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand...

This slogan is most often associated with motorcycles - Harley Davidsons to be specific. The enamel pin on the right is a Wm Spear Designs take-off of another popular motorcycle phrase, "Ride hard, die free." Both have had an eerie resonance with me for most of my life – certainly all of my adult life.

Am I naturally rebellious? Perhaps I possess some kind of “pioneer” spirit. Whatever the case, it would appear that I have come across a socially acceptable, productive and harmless yet still exciting and risky outlet for this maverick streak I have been blessed, or cursed with. It is embodied in William Spear’s adaptation of the motorcyclist’s manifesto “Write hard, die free.”

Are the two sides of the equation related? Does riding or writing hard equate freedom? Does doing anything with conviction, commitment or enthusiasm garner one some sense of freedom? Has it got anything to do with work; with sacrifice; with blood, sweat and tears? Indeed, freedom of any approximation seems to require some scale upon which its value can be measured – work.

And perhaps that is part of the problem in our nation today. Too many are out for the quick fix, the fast buck… for instant gratification. The paradox of instant gratification is that it only lasts for an instant. The rewards of hard work are lasting, they’re deep and they are mine.

I no longer desire instant riches – hitting the lottery appeals to me only inasmuch as how much more I could do with that kind of money – how much more work I could produce. And that’s what it’s really all about; I mean, what else are we here for? To only consume; to take and take and take?

I have found through the trials of life, by the good, the bad and the ugly, that freedom cannot be given away, sold or purchased. It is not a birthright, here or anywhere else. It is gained only through work – hard work. It could result in something tangible, but often it is the unspoken, unwritten and the indescribable that means more than anything that could be held in one's hand. It could be riding or writing, but one way or another, freedom is earned and should never be taken for granted.