I believe Life is meant to be lived on our terms doing what we want when we want. Why? Because we live and then we DIE. Pretty straight forward. So why not do what we want during our time on this earth?
This is my belief of freedom today but it’s not what it was 6 months ago nor is it the same for everyone. Over the last 150 days traveling through Asia and Europe I have gained new perspectives from many of the young adults living in these countries.
To some freedom is the ability to make enough money to take 2 weeks off a year from work and go to the Caribbean. For others it’s the ability to live in a country where opportunities are limitless and the government doesn’t keep you down. Finally it may be the ability to live the nomad life working from wherever, whenever they want indefinitely. All different yet all perspectives of freedom.
Freedom is simply not static. As life changes your outlook on freedom changes. That goes for people living in different countries as well. You never know what you don’t know as the saying goes.
This new perspective has lead to a steep progression in my connection with what makes me happy and that’s why I wanted to write this post.
Hopefully by sharing my 2 biggest lessons it will get you thinking about Freedom differently and spark action towards finding a higher level of happiness.
Lesson 1: My idea of freedom will always be different from others and that’s okay
It was a shocking awakening when I was chatting with a mid twenty year old friend in Italy last week. He helped me understand that it would be a dream come true to travel to North America and stay to work. What a life it would be if he had the ability to shape his own life rather than live the one his government dictates he must.
“Use the power of technology to create your freedom”
At first I challenged him. “Use the power of technology to create your freedom” I said. It will remove your governments influence by enabling you to create your own life online. If only it was that simple was the response I got. Almost an impossible to understand type of response.
What does this tell me. One, our ideas of freedom are drastically different. Two, the idea of freedom changes based on where you are in your life and the environment you are a part of in that moment.
Freedom in North America is so much different than that of other countries. I have talked intimately with many people in their 20–30’s in Thailand, Italy and Bali and for them freedom is a new country. Freedom is the ability to say I want to do this with my life and actually be able to control that. Instead they find themselves bound to what their countries have to offer and the limitations imposed by the government.
Although faced with limitations the common theme was a strong value of family, laughter, contentment and love. Many of the things that I found value in but didn’t focus on in my previous outlook on life. For them at this moment in their life freedom is their ability to just spend time with their friends and family. That’s a beautiful simple way of looking at life.
“If you truly value family above professional progression, being able to spend time with them is your freedom”
This is where the connection between happiness and freedom became clear. If you truly value family above professional progression, being able to spend time with them is your freedom. You are able to do what makes you happy.
In our society we think making money, progressing our professional goals and “moving up in life” is the way to find freedom and happiness. So we tend overlook the simpler things where in many instances it can bring that level of freedom we desire.
I align with my foreign friends way of thinking but was blinded by our society to instead think freedom was reaching the peaks of the American Dream.
Freedom is totally different for every person and it’s stupid to judge other peoples perspectives as wrong. Freedom changes and freedom is individually bias so appreciate it and share your perspective with others.
Lesson 2: Freedom changes as life changes
I used to think Freedom was a static perspective. That was until I reached certain peaks in life and realized this is not freedom to me nor does it make me happy. This emotional roller coaster sparked the idea that Freedom is Evergreen. It changes as life changes.
Let me give you a few examples.
When I was 21 years old I thought freedom was the ability to dedicate as much time and effort towards getting good grades in school while competing in bodybuilding shows. And at the time it felt great!
Today, if I was spending my time dieting hard, in the gym all the time, working 3 jobs, studying 40+ hours a week and waking up at 6am everyday, I would consider that a jail cell. How things change right?
“All the other things that are important to me in life, family, fitness, friends etc. would face a level of sacrifice to do this “freedom”
Another example is just 6 months ago. Freedom was solely financial driven. I wanted to make as much money as possible in a short amount of time to retire by 31 years and never have to “work” again. All the other things that are important to me in life, family, fitness, friends etc. would face a level of sacrifice to do this “freedom”.
I couldn’t be more confident in the fact that if I pursued this path that it wouldn’t make me happy. In turn it wouldn’t be freedom. Traveling has taught me to appreciate the simple things in life and go with the flow.
As new experiences in life happen your priorities shift and so do the things that make you happy. Understanding this will give you a sense of calm when suddenly you don’t enjoy doing things you used to enjoy doing. This is the perfect time to reflect, make changes and identify your new ideology of freedom.
Freedom is a beautiful thing and something I encourage everyone to work towards finding. The journey lasts forever and that’s something you need to be okay with pursuing because it’s not an easy one.
When I think about freedom I think about emotional intelligence and our ability to be in tune with what makes us happy and why. If you have a deep understanding of how freedom changes, it will give you a better chance to find happiness.
I’m thankful for the new experiences I gained while traveling and the alternative perspectives that have been shared with me. Not only has it brought me closer to identifying my happy place but it has changed the way I think about freedom moving forward.
So appreciate what freedom is today while knowing your perspective will change tomorrow and that’s why life is awesome!
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