In one sense we are imprisoned by our distaste for unpleasantness. If the idea of something unpleasant can act as a barrier to some great good that you like, then it is a ‘virtual prison’ wall.
To go to wonderful new places you must deal with the pain of planning, organisation and the actual travel with its smells and dirt, risk of ill-health, etc etc.
To do what your heart wants to do, you must be willing to fight for what you want. Your family, elders, friends and neighbours will try to dissuade you with reason and emotion and even emotional blackmail.
My father says that the fear of something unpleasant should not deter you from going ahead and doing what you aspire to do. The caution he says that is that just for doing what you like, you cannot do an injustice.
So all you really need to do is check whether it is causing actual harm to others. This is really hard. Who knows the consequence of one’s actions? Today, ten years from now, at the end of your life?
Some people will insist that if you don’t give up all your joys in their service or cause, you are doing them an injustice!
So you can’t really ‘get permission’ from everybody. Some people will actively try to make things unpleasant for you when you want to do what you want to do. Crying, sulking, shouting, blaming, wearing an air of injury and as I said before, emotional blackmail of various kinds. It is hard to care for such people and then still do what you need to do for yourself. If your life requires that you care for such a person or people, then you will end up being a cinderalla or a saint if you have no fairy godmother.
How can you cross over this barrier of unpleasantness? You can withdraw. You can give up. You can fight. You can strategize. (I am talking about those people that you cannot explain your point of view to.)
One thing is certain, if you want to ‘do’ anything then, you have to cross over some unpleasantness or other. I often think of the samudra manthanam. First the poison, then the magic gifts, then the amRtam!
Or of course you can take the ‘easy’ way out.
The easy way out is to give up what you like and what you want. Not because you are a great saint, but because you are a helpless victim. Between the renunciation of s’ankarAcarya and the forced saintliness of a young widow, there is a Huge Difference. s’ankarAcArya mastered samsAra for gnyaana and mOkSa. samsAra imprisons the young widow and acts as her jailer.
Look at the things you have given up. Is it renunciation or the lack of opportunity? Do you even know what you want? Or if you want anything?
What is holding you back from doing what you like?
Is it a distaste for the unpleasantness that you have to experience on the way to self-determination?