As you will know America recently celebrated their US Independence Day, probably the biggest public holiday’s in the US next to Thanksgiving. My family are American, so I’ve celebrated a few Independence Days and I know how important it is for Americans. As you probably know it’s a celebration of the US declaring itself an independent nation. Celebrations take the form of fireworks, barbecued food, families and friends coming together, and Stars and Stripes…EVERYWHERE.
Thinking about the holiday got me thinking about what independence means to me. How important it is to be free to enjoy doing the things I love, seeing people I want to see, living in a space that I can call my own. Presently in my life I don’t have as much independence as I’d like. I don’t have my own place, I’m separated from my young family by the Atlantic Ocean and bureaucracy, and money is tight. I’m limited to what I can do, the things I want are outwith my grasp. I find the situation difficult and I cope as well as I can by reminding myself that it will pass. It’s not easy though. When you’re in the midst of a bad situation it is hard to see past it. I feel trapped, limited in my independence to do what I want to do and feel how I want to feel.
What I find can often help me when I feel I don’t have much freedom is writing a list for myself of all the things I can do instead of dwelling on the things I can’t. My lists usually include simple things such as “I am free to go for a walk in a forest”, “I’m free to listen to music”, “I am free to go back to bed”, “I am free to watch a movie”, “I am free to go on a cheap day trip on the train somewhere”, “I am free to write”, “I am free to be me”. This is just one of the ways that writing can help me when I feel trapped by negative feelings and thought processes.
Celebrate your own independence, remind yourself of all the small things you are free to do. And, unlike Americans, do it as often as you like and not just one day per year.