What Is Freedom?

Eric Hunter
5 min readJul 7, 2020

So I was watching my son play on an empty playground today, and I found myself thinking about freedom. You know, Masha and I would be, in the absence of the pandemic, in the prime of our lives right now. We have been extremely fortunate. Here are some of the ways I feel we’ve beaten the odds:

  • We found love in each other — you take this for granted with married couples, but there were long stretches of our lives when we felt we’d never find the right person. Now that we have, it never ceases to seem miraculous.
  • We built successful careers in music and nonprofit law and achieved financial solvency, if not abundance. We’re making it in two difficult industries in one of the most expensive cities on the planet — maybe just barely, but I still feel we deserve to be proud.
  • We dodged every complication of pregnancy and childbirth to deliver two healthy babies. They don’t tell you beforehand just how many tests you have to take, how many things can go wrong at any time. By the time you get to the actual delivery you’ve run a marathon, not just of the physical variety from the backbreaking strain of lugging it around, but mentally from the stress of having to worry about accidentally or inexplicably losing your child for the past ten months. And that’s just the start. Raising kids is SO HARD. But when they get old enough to show a little personality, and you realize they’re the perfect blend of the best parts of the two of you and more that you don’t know where it comes from — and then you get a completely different, equally miraculous configuration in the second!! — and you realize you’ve created your new favorite two people in the world, well… science fails me.
  • The problem is, though, housing in this city is really inhumanly expensive, and we’re not in the royalty class of financiers and big law. So what happens? We win the city housing lottery and end up living like millionaires in a luxury building anyway. You see what I mean? How can we possibly complain with all we have?

(My sister interjects here that we don’t “live like millionaires,” and it’s true that we’re not exactly sitting on thrones of solid gold. But even our little 1000 square-foot three-bedroom in Manhattan will easily run a buyer multiple millions in this insane economy.)