Insight: Freedom is just another word
For those fans of Janis Joplin, I can hear you humming the tune right now and ending the five words above with, “for nothing left to lose.”
As July 4th approaches and we celebrate our independence as a nation this Tuesday with family and friends, I have wondered what independence means to others. Much like the Joplin song, independence is just another word or a certain feeling for a myriad of things. Each of us, with our own perceptions of what that might be, have different ways of expressing that word.
I have heard people describe independence as the ability to be self-reliant, to determine one’s own life schedule, living fully and without restraint and not having to answer to anyone but to one’s self.
However, the one description that has made me stop in my tracks is a sentence I read recently. That sentence was: “Not having to ask for permission to live my life.”
Wow! I don’t know about you but I like the strength and truth in that sentence.
Although it is true that most of us dream of being in total control of our lives without accommodating tight and hectic schedules that, at times, feels like shackles. And we certainly wish we didn’t have to answer to the needs, demands and wants of others on a daily basis. But the fact is, with a few exceptions, the majority of us don’t live (and perhaps don’t want to live) in that reality.
To be free and independent of schedules and needs of others would mean that we would have no loved ones who rely on us - or us on them. Yes, there is the subject of a job that supports the life we want, but the reality of the “dream-like” independence is probably something, if we had it, we would not want.
But, I would think it is safe to say, that we would like to live our lives without asking permission to live it the way we deem to be true to our being. A life that is independent of the opinions, both good and bad, of others - now that seems like real freedom and independence to me.
So, with that being said, remember this: When you take your favorite dish to a 4th of July gathering with family and friends this Tuesday and it turns out not to be the most popular, and you end up taking a full dish back home with you; think “independence.” Who cares about their opinion? Now, that’s freedom!