So anybody who knows me, knows that concepts and questions keep swarming my head for a long time before I make up my mind about a topic.. and sometimes I never make up my mind at all.
In this particular case:
A while ago, I told people that I work 32 hrs a week. And I was told “pah, 32 hrs? That’s part-time! You should try to work my hrs! Come back when you’ve put in the 72 hrs I put in per week!”
It’s been lingering on my mind for a while, that someone should boast about them working so much more than I and even talk me down on it. It made me wonder about the differences in culture between there and here, because frankly; I know some people who work a lot… but I also know a lot of people who, like me, work to live and not live to work.
In the same conversation came up the “oh you just live with a roommate don’t you?” question. Living the way we do, is not being married, hence it’s being degraded to living roommate style. Where as, by dutch laws, we are truly to be considered the same as being married. Except; we skipped the ceremonial part, and just went for the contract. In the Netherlands there are many options of living together with someone, bypassing the institution of marriage. There is absolutely no other reason, really, to be married here unless you -want- it.
What -grates- me about those 2 comments…, is that these are not one-time instances. I meet a whole lot of people coming from self proclaimed “free” countries (not only US, in case anyone was feeling targeted) who do not count themselves lucky enough to have these freedoms.. working that much and living with another person under the same roof with the same benefits and responsibilities as if you were married, apparently is not an option to other people who also proclaim to be free.
I don’t get it. It makes me wonder what “freedom” truly is. To me; it’s being able to travel wherever I like, being able to pay my half of all expenses to the home we bought (sometimes I make more, sometimes he makes more, but we share 50/50%), and to be able to make a conscious choice to work for a living, and not live for my work. Freedom for me is being able and allowed to make personal, conscious choices and NOT be judged for them. I truly think that here, in the NL, I can do whatever the fuck I like, provided it’s sane and doesn’t hurt anyone..
I’m aware that I am spoiled. Which makes it only so much more interesting to hear other opinions, so here we go:
What is freedom to you? How do you define it? How free do you think you are, and how happy are you with that freedom?