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[ Cold beer ]
15 July 2023

I've yearned for the freedom of financial independence. You may wonder why this desire for financial independence persists. It's because I've long believed that it equates to genuine freedom. Naturally, parental expectations brought about numerous daily inquiries, prompting me to respond with answers steeped in idealism, brimming with confidence and ambition—truthful, yet at times embellished, perhaps as a means of self-reassurance.

A year after completing graduate school, I finally secured a stable job that granted me financial independence. The exhilaration of newfound freedom was intoxicating. The ability to support myself felt like a cathartic journey into true independence. However, as my time, once self-centered, began to serve another's agenda, I was burdened by a profound sense of responsibility. The weight of shouldering the uncertainties of the future bore down heavily.

Presently, I dedicate few days a week to labor with a construction crew at a company, devote one day to freelance carpenter, and allocate the remaining times to my own projects and relaxation. In comparison to my financially supported days, I lead a relatively comfortable life, indulging in non-essential expenditures. Yet, this shift has come at the cost of diminished personal time, leaving me with an unsettling emptiness.

The chasm between our ideals and reality is a universal quandary in the human experience. I've come to accept that this sense of disconnection is inherent to modern society. What truly matters is how we grapple with these emotions and coexist with them.

Lately, my foremost concern is my growing tendency to calculate the value of my time in terms of efficiency and money, even outside my freelancing job. This unconscious assessment of time as a form of currency sometimes fills me with disgust.

Throughout my life, I've aspired to be a profound artist—one who immerses themselves in their work, eschews shortcuts, and meticulously navigates every step of the creative process. However, in the realm that consumes most of my hours, efficiency and profit often take precedence over personal identity. Nevertheless, there's satisfaction and joy in what I do for financial sustenance.

I now empathize with my friends who said they are working to buy their hobby, recognizing that, like them,

I channel the money I earn into my creative endeavors. It's the poignant sense of emptiness that accompanies the fusion of one's primary job with their livelihood.

For me, the dichotomy of "ideals and reality" transforms into "freedom and money." My ideal is freedom, but the tangible obstacle is money. What terrifies me most is the necessity of earning money to attain freedom, which sometimes feels like acquiring material liberation rather than true mental or creative emancipation. Though I currently earn just enough to get by, I find myself discussing money, once a disliked topic, as if it's the be-all and end-all of existence. It's as if my entrepreneurial journey has morphed into myth, and I wear the mask of a rapper who flaunts wealth in lyrics. As I unintentionally draw inspiration from others, I grapple with moments of self-loathing and a pervasive sense of futility.

I've made a conscious choice to embrace all aspects of my life and integrate them into the fabric of my present self. Much of my work entails physical labor, demanding strength and skill. While it can be daunting, I am youthful and capable. The path of working diligently to achieve one's true desires is, in itself, a beautiful and romantic way to exist. I hope that this essay stands as a cherished memory of youth in the future.

At present, I juggle six distinct jobs, continuously navigating the fine line between my ideals and the reality of daily life. Nonetheless, amidst this complexity, the simple pleasures of burgers and beer remain a source of enduring delight, a reminder that life's most basic joys remain unchanged.