It’s Independence Day tomorrow. Independence. What does that mean? In 1776 it meant fighting hard for the freedom to make our own laws and the freedom from a distant land placing taxes and restrictions on us. Telling us what to do. Steering our lives.
Independence as individuals is still the most precious commodity we have, outside of time. Independence is simply the capacity to make your own choices. When you realize that the choices are yours, that you are the driver of your bus, any ol’ time you want to be, and you have to actively want to be, otherwise someone else slides into the driver’s seat when you’re not looking.
So I’m rambling and pondering here on this free morning I have, a vacation day, how independence really equals choices and responsibilities and how easy it is to miss the fact or relinquish it entirely, that the choices are always there, even when they are not the options you wish for. And like my mom always said,“Choosing not to choose is also a choice”. In other words, we’re not off the hook with the consequences just because we decided to take an inactive role.
I attended a women’s forum a week or so ago through work and one of the things the coach said that struck me the hardest and that I have been turning over and over again in my mind is that there are always choices and there are costs and benefits. There is no one right way. You make decisions for yourself, you can choose something different at a later date but you choose ALWAYS based on the life you want to lead. This is it. You are the driver, the designer, the architect, and the super. Your actual job is CEO of YOU, inc. What do you want that to look like? You make that choice. You steer accordingly. I think too often we, I, default into looking to the outside world to be kind generous, fair, merit based. But that’s silly. It can’t always be that way. It often is. But it’s often not. This is the jungle. It’s important to hold tight to the wheel. Speak up for yourself. Know yourself. Be fair. Be kind. And I loved this…she said, It’s OKAY to want what YOU want. Maybe that doesn’t include being a workaholic. Maybe it doesn’t include being lady-like all the time. Maybe it doesn’t include agreeing with someone even when you don’t. Or looking the other way when they think they’re so smart they will slip this one by…
So we have Independence, which means we have choices, which means we must CHOOSE, every day, in hundreds of ways, to steer our lives along the road we want it to run on. To feel the way we want to feel.
Pink hair or brown?
More web surfing or some actual writing?
Alone or together?
Out loud or keep it in?
Necessary or not necessary?
Bullied or no bull shit?
Humble and true or wounded and showing it?
Sitting with it or medicating it?
Exchanging it or lovingly caring for it, darning it, smoothing it into ripe old age?
Happy Independence Day. Happy choosing.