Happy Indepence Day to all Americans reading this! And I hope everyone else reading still enjoyed a nice summer Monday today.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Independence lately- what it means and what to do with it. As I get older, and more summers go by, the realization of how independence works gets clearer. As kids, we had to live in a certain place, and eat certain things, and be around certain people. We had to do our homework and study very particular things and choose from a specific assortment of extracurricular activities. Now, in our thirties, we are truly not held back by anything. Our liberation is a strange realization to process at first because we tell ourselves that we have only a few choices when in fact we have many, many more.
Summer is the time I really think about my choices and options because I have more time to process. My job is less structured in the summer and I don’t travel for work again until fall. I could spend my summer solely watching tv, or spend it working on a new project. I could travel in the summer, or spend my time staycationing in NYC. I can say ‘I’m bored’ and do nothing at home or I can learn to sing again from YouTube videos, or sit and paint. There are so many options.
But these are only the simple options. I can also question why I live in New York (I can live anywhere in the country as my work is all travel based). I can also question my job itself- I can choose to apply for other jobs. I can go into a completely different line of work. I can dye my hair purple. I can get a dog. I can get on a plane to India. I can party all night. I can eat Cheetos day and night. I can never exercise again. I can exercise all day long. Some options seem insane, but they’re still options nonetheless.
There are just so many options- and it’s great but it can also be scary. Sometimes when there’s lots of open time ahead, I get scared because I want to use the time well. This fear can lead to sadness- I’ve felt bad in the past when there’s empty time, because time leads to options and options lead to dealing with choices. And it can be scary to realize how much independence I actually have.
However, when the reins are grabbed, and I seize the wonderful power of independence and options, there’s nothing more incredible. When I can enjoy my time, own my choices, and make my days truly mine, my joy is unmatchable. All the ‘busyness’ that’s used as a coverup for being afraid of facing ownership of my life can’t match independence.
So enjoy the summer and any time off. Allow yourself to own your time and don’t hide behind ‘being so busy’ with bs time- stealing tasks. Don’t just sit around being bored. If you have time to relax, own the relaxation. Make your own choices and bask in the joy of them. Celebrate! You are independent!