The Chains That Bind

Alecia Kennedy
Breaking All The Rules
7 min readMay 19, 2024


Making a paper link chain to freedom changed my perspective

The “Beast” reclining on a couch in my bedroom Photo by author

Middle age is such an interesting time and not what I thought it would be — if I even thought of it at all. Although I’ve always imagined that I would have a long life, my brain just kinda skipped from being twenty or thirty-something to being an elderly lady wearing housedresses and living peacefully in a small stone cottage somewhere in the South of France with a cat. I imagined I’d spend my days reading, writing, fussing over flower beds and sitting in the sunshine. I never considered the how of the “in-between” part where I’d have to bridge the reality of working for a dollar to a life of leisure in that cottage.

But here I am in between two worlds. I do not yet have the means to retire (and am behind most of my peers who relentlessly pursued their careers earlier in life), yet am tired to death of the corporate slog. I am raising an elementary-aged child while my adult daughter still lives with me. I lost my father two nearly two years ago, and although my mom is still active and able to live on her own, I do think about her future and how that might affect my own.

In some ways I am more free than I have ever been. I am free from the expectations of others since I simply no longer give a damn what anyone thinks. I am more financially free than I have ever been and completely out of debt…