Freedom is a Choice You Make

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Well, the weekend is finally here. For most of us in the U.S. it’s a three-day weekend. More than that, it’s a weekend to remember and honor those who laid down their life for this country, and the families they left behind. Having spent twelve years in the Navy, I know the risk our service men and women face every day, even in times of peace. It’s a dangerous job, and we owe them our respect.

Freedom is a word that means different things to different people. We often think of freedom in terms of the Constitution – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom to do just about anything that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. In fact, one of the founding principles of our country was the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But there’s more to freedom that we don’t often think about, simply because it goes against what we’ve been conditioned to think is “normal.” We learn at a young age, mostly by watching our parents, that life consists of getting up every day, going to work, coming home tired, and only taking time off on weekends or when the company says we’ve earned a vacation.

Worse yet, we’re expected to do that until we’re too old to keep working that way, which means we’re too old to do much of anything else except sit around the house and wait for the grandkids to come by. Maybe we take a long-overdue European vacation, but instead of climbing the 768 steps at Germany’s Ulm Cathedral, we’re left to gaze up and wonder what we’re missing.

I guess it’s no wonder young people are so heavily in debt, because the one lesson they’ve learned is if you want something in life, you’d better get it now. If there are things you want to do, you’d better not wait. And they’ve learned this, not by listening to their elders, but by watching them. Who wants to work every day for 45 years just to end up sitting on the porch watching squirrels?

That’s not freedom. Oh, we had the choice to do it that way and that’s the route most of us take. But we also have the freedom to choose something a little more fulfilling. I watched a TV show about RVs and the people buying them and was amazed at the number of young couples who decided to forego the traditional brick & mortar house with a fixed address and just experience life on the road.

You see, freedom goes way beyond the freedom to go to college, pick a major, and interview for the job we want. It goes beyond buying whatever house we can afford in a location that’s close to where we work. It goes beyond deciding what to do on our week or two of paid vacation. Freedom is the ability to decide if that life appeals to us at all and, if not, to enjoy life in our own way.

Granted, most of us will never enjoy that life. Not because we can’t, but because we never made it enough of a priority to do something about it. Sometimes it’s easier to just follow the crowd and do what everybody else does. Blazing a trail of your own takes courage, and the willingness to put up with a lot of naysayers along the way. But it also can lead to a life none of them will ever enjoy.

We’re taught at a young age that it takes money to buy food and pay the bills. That’s true. What we’re not told is that there are hundreds of ways to earn an income besides punching a clock every day for 45 years. And there are just as many ways to supplement our full-time income by doing something extra on the side so we can have the freedom to enjoy a little more along the way.

As you celebrate freedom and the people who made that freedom possible, remember that it goes well beyond a set of laws that tells you what you’re allowed to do. Freedom is the very personal choices you make each day, and the extent to which you allow others to make those choices for you. It’s about enjoying your life, in whatever way you choose. Most of all, it’s the courage to accept that freedom and make the most of it – today, and every day. It’s your life. Live it!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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