This is the month when we celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. As a result, I started thinking about the word “independence” and what it means to me, especially in these times we are living in.
The definition indicates freedom from control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. It also means to me the freedom to make choices for oneself.
I clearly remember the day I became ‘independent.’ I was 20 years old. Now, my parents were good, loving people, and certainly wise. That meant that I had restrictions, curfews, and household responsibilities that were cramping my twenties lifestyle. I was already working at a local five & dime store (remember those?) 5 days a week and I was bringing in some money, so I decided the time was right to move out of my parent’s home and live on my own. I made my choice. I decided to rent an apartment (much to my parent’s chagrin) along with a co-worker who would be my roommate. Yippee! Free at last from the control of my parents.
One thing I was completely naïve about in choosing to become independent was some of the challenges my choices would lead me to experience. The roommate situation was intolerable. She borrowed my stuff without asking, ate my food, and had a lot of parties (which were in our apartment and that I was not invited to). Then came the ultimate blow: when she said she was moving out without any notice! There I was, left with a 2-bedroom apartment I could not afford to pay rent on alone, and the rent was due. My first taste of independence had come with a cost.
Of course, Mom and Dad wanted me to move back home with them but now I had another choice to make. I just could not envision myself back in my old bedroom with bunk beds and posters of rock bands, or dealing with another roommate, so I chose to remain independent and found a one-bedroom apartment with reasonable rent.
Of course, being independent meant I would again, make some wrong choices like the sheepdog I decided to adopt. He too was an intolerable roommate as I threw away chewed-up “expensive” shoes, cleaned up pee spots on my carpet and this dog needed to be walked every day at least twice! My dad came to the rescue after 2 weeks of me being a poor dog parent and took the dog back to the shelter (me crying my eyes out at the fact that the dog was going back to the shelter and the stupid choice I had made in the first place). What was I thinking??
The choices we make are all part of this game called life and I am very fond of saying (from the Monopoly Game) “You don’t get to pass GO or collect $200.00 until you’ve learned the lessons life is giving you.” While some of my choices were painful learning experiences, many other choices I have made in my life have proven successful. I ended up making the right choice that landed me the career of my dreams working for John Chambers. I made the right choice in marrying my wonderful husband Cory and we have been married for 39 years!
To be truly “Independent” means we should be able to make our own choices in terms of what we believe in, how we want to live our lives and how we want to treat others, and how we want to be treated. We all have political, religious, and humanitarian beliefs on things –isn’t it great that we have THAT choice in terms of our thinking?
I do hope one of our choices will be to continue educating ourselves on what is going on in the world to gain a better understanding of it. For me, this is tremendously important. I actually have a “News” app on my iPhone called Apple News+ where I get information from a vast variety of news and magazine publications on lots of subjects. I am also a huge fan of an application called “Pocket” which brings lots of great news articles on just about any topic. The cool thing about Pocket is that I can literally “Pocket” any article that interests me and save it for later when I have time to read them.
So, here is my ask of you. In this crazy world we live in, let us try to remain curious, open-minded, and educated about what is going on because making THAT choice is Independence!