For many Americans, having a 3-day weekend is cause to celebrate. Throw in some fireworks, food and beverages, friends and family, and a little patriotism and you have the incomparable 4th of July holiday. In honor of Independence Day, I declared last week Independence Week and took some time off work to savor all that freedom and independence mean to me.
My reality is I work four 10-hour days at a community college and have Fridays off during June and July. If I take a strategically placed vacation I can maximize my days off and write full-time during that time period. I live in the Midwest (nowhere near a beach) but have access to a swimming pool and a cabin, although they are not at the same location. I can get farm fresh eggs from my friend Karen’s happy hens and fresh fruit at the farmers market and check out the Food Network for something fabulous to do with these ingredients.
There’s this thing that happens at midlife when we accept that this is our life. Whether or not this is who we thought we’d be, where we imagined we’d live, what we hoped we’d be doing for a living, and who we thought we’d be doing it with, here we are now. And though we’ve been involved in every decision that brought us this point, we may still, on occasion, ask ourselves just what happened.
Sometimes I think I have to do something so big, so bold, so grand that I completely psych myself out and do nothing. For example, in the above fantasy, spending a whole summer at a beach house and writing a best seller are two humungous goals. While possible, they require planning, financing, connections, talent, and ultimately luck.
During my ten days away, I spent half the time at the cabin surrounded by trees and hawks and hummingbirds with my dogs at my feet and various people joining me in the evenings. The other days were spent overcoming my technophobia by upgrading my phone and securing a wireless modem and laptop so I can take my writing on the road.
Having the time and space to breathe deeply and pay attention to all the little ways the universe rushes in to wow anyone who’s paying attention, is what I feel freedom is all about.