The concept of freedom popped into my contemplations lately-mostly because it was Thursday evening and the next day was Friday. This meant that a weekend stretched before me, full of promise. Well, kind of. Freedom for me doesn’t necessarily mean not having to wake up and go to my 9-5 job. Freedom on a personal level also doesn’t necessarily mean the freedom to not be enslaved by a foreign entity, though it’s certainly a privilege I don’t take for granted.
A lot of my posts lately have been very planet centered, which is great. The theme of the blog is, after all, “Humans and nature and human nature.” However, today, I’m going to talk more about a human theme, which is indeed, that concept of freedom, and how it can mean so many different things to so many different people.
Freedom takes on a special personal meaning for each person, because now that I really think on it, it’s not that the definition of freedom changes, it’s what each person would do with unlimited freedom that changes. Personal freedom at its core is to make choices about life, or our time, or our money, or our bodies… that we want. It’s the choices that we would make with our time that really differs and makes us who we are. AND, when we do have “free time”, what leads to personal fulfillment seems to be when the choices that we make align with what we truly desire internally. When the self is aligned with our choices, that is when we are most truly happy.
For me, the freedom I value most is the freedom of what to do with my time. Often, I become inundated with feeling like I have to do a million things for everyone in my life, or I feel torn between three different volunteer positions I’m involved in because I’m a crazy overachiever who really just wants to make a difference and be around good energy. However, if I’m not careful all of these things begin to feel like obligations which give me no freedom to choose what to do with my time- even though I’m constantly making choices with what to do with my time!
Sounds a bit overly complicated, so I’ll break it down a bit. (This was written on a Thursday, my least coherent night, due to the fact that I have almost a full week of work behind me.) One of my natural tendencies is that I am an introvert, meaning I draw a lot of energy from being by myself and reflecting. I also get a little bit of energy from being around small groups or individuals who share my passions, but those are harder to find. When I’m constantly busy, I don’t necessarily make the time to sit in quiet and reflect.
Freedom, to me, is sitting down in a quiet space, preferably in nature, with the sun on my body, a journal or a book in my hand, and my feet bare. It’s that simple. Some of my most free moments are when I don’t have anywhere to be, anything to do, or anything to worry my anxious brain. I can just be. Freedom can also be found, for me, in the arms or in the company of the people I love most, the people who let me just be myself.
Maybe, in part, my desire to protect the environment is a bit of a selfish one. I want to preserve my freedom to get lost in the natural world and press the reset button. I would be lost without it. However, I think that there is a little grain of preference that stems from a personal soft spot, for activists of every kind. It’s how we choose our primary focus- with what resonates for us. It helps us to be more effective.
For some people, my description of freedom is probably awful. Some people hate a lack of structure, or hate quiet. To them, it wouldn’t be freedom, it would be a prison. For me, it’s like oxygen.
What is freedom to you? How do you help preserve and find time for freedom? Are you enjoying some this weekend?