Somewhere in the past couple of days, post family gathering and too much driving, drinking and dining, I realized that I am on a path to freedom. I didn’t actually plan the route but have been discovering it over the last 3 years. I use freedom in a Jeffersonian fashion meaning free from something and liberty as free to do something. I didn’t arrive on this path easily. There was much resistance, mostly from me. And I haven’t fully accepted the possibilities that freedom and liberty bring to my family and me. Knowing that both can be resisted should offer a hint that neither are an inalienable right but rather a difficult choice.
I am free (becoming freer) from external expectations. My race is mine to run in a way, time and distance that I choose. This doesn’t mean that my choices are without ramifications and consequences. It means that I have the liberty to select from a comprehensive menu of actions with the understanding that the decision will create an impact for me and on me. I am free to choose to work part-time with the associated reduction in income so that I have time to do other activities that are of the highest and best use of my time.
I am free (becoming freer) from the curse of certainty. As I embrace ambiguity my curiousity and innovation increase. I intentionally live off balance and uncertain about my positions and my biases. The upside is that I get to learn something every day and then add to it or adapt it on the next day. With less certainty, I don’t need to be defensive and can avoid being offensive when I have meaningful discussions and debates with the much more interesting people I encounter. I am free of the ethical dissonance I suffered when ideology or theology conflicted with my values. I can easily hold paradoxes without feeling anxious.
I have the liberty to live life on my terms. I get to set my priorities (again understanding that there will be consequences). The goals I have set for 2017 and beyond wouldn’t make sense to everyone (maybe no one) but I am free to justify them to myself and the internal accountability seems to act as better motivation to stick to the plan.
My liberty and my freedom are both contingent on consideration. I can’t harm or hinder others. I can’t break rules, bylaws or laws without ramifications. But I don’t need to surrender to conventions and norms just because “everyone is doing it this way”.
Think about how you enjoy liberty and freedom. Are there changes that would make your life more fulfilling? If you were free from fear, what would you do? If you could do anything that you want to add value to your world, what would it look like?
If you see something amiss, make it your problem to fix it,