This Independence Day I am so thankful for freedom and not being tied down. Living an untemplate life, i.e. breaking out of the template lifestyle of working until 65+, wasn’t something I imagined I would do growing up. I feel very lucky with the way my life has turned out and I owe a lot of that to hard work and the choices I’ve made along the way.
Can you imagine living without independence and being forced down a path chosen by someone else? What if your career was dictated by the government or your spouse was chosen by your parents? How paralyzing, claustrophobic, frustrating, and dire that would be. The sad thing is there are many people in the world today who don’t have the same freedoms that we do. Let’s never take our freedoms for granted.
We are all quite fortunate. Give thanks for the many freedoms you have this Independence Day. Here are some of the freedoms I am thankful for.
Freedom to be heard
As a writer, freedom of expression and being able to share my own voice is priceless. I realize that I rarely have anything very controversial or vexing to say, but it is still incredibly freeing and empowering to be able to publicly publish whatever I want, whenever I want on this site.
It’s funny that I used to be so self conscious about my own voice and never thought I could become a writer. I didn’t think anyone would ever care what I have to say, and I was always worried about what I should write about. Fortunately, I’ve learned that confidence can be developed with practice and it becomes much less intimidating to speak up over time.
I’ve also learned over the last several years that being able to share my own experiences, opinions, and advice is what I enjoy the most about writing. Sometimes it can feel a bit uncomfortable talking about personal things, but that’s another beauty of freedom – I can say as little or as much as I like. And even though I’m not a big social media sharer, it’s nice knowing I can share as much or as little as I feel like. I still find it baffling that sites like Twitter and Facebook are blocked in parts of the world like China and the UAE.
Freedom of equality
I’m fortunate that I was able to spend some of my education in all girls classes. I think a lot of girls and young women suffer from low self confidence, and I was one of them for many years. Being able to go to school and learn from intelligent, energetic female teachers had such a positive influence on my life. And I really believe those all girls classes boosted my self esteem and helped me get over my fear of speaking up.
I can’t imagine growing up in an environment where women are discouraged from going to school, aren’t allowed to drive and are pressured to keep quiet, stay at home, and act subservient to men all the time. I feel very lucky to live in a country and a society where women have equal rights as men. And although there are still hurdles and wage gaps for women in the workplace, they are shrinking, and more positive change happens every day.
Freedom of adventure
I’ve had a passport since I was about three months old. I didn’t even realize I had one that young until I stumbled across it a few years ago when I was emptying some drawers at my mom’s house. It was so funny, and rather adorable I must say, to open up an expired passport and see my baby picture in it.
I was on the road for most of my life and only stopped traveling this year. I got burnt out in a good way and am now focused on family time. I thoroughly enjoyed all the traveling I did and am happily taking a break from packing and airports.
I think it’s incredible that we have the rights to travel (practically) anywhere in the world. Of course it takes means and time to be able to do so, but I love that we have the freedom to just pack a bag and go anywhere.
Freedom to change careers
I think life is too short to only do one thing. Having the freedom to choose how to earn a living is a right we shouldn’t take for granted. Work is such a huge part of our lives, and having the freedom to decide what work we do and when is priceless.
Even though it isn’t always easy, and is often scary, we are lucky to have the option to change and walk away from careers and companies whenever we want to. I can’t imagine being forced into a job and not having any control in my career.
Freedom of lifestyle
Freedom of lifestyle is a big one for me. I am so grateful to have the freedom to be myself and not have to hold back. I love that I have the freedom to choose my friends and the people I associate with. How awful would it be if we were forced to hang out with people we didn’t like, especially in our free time?
We all change as we grow up, relocate, and live our lives, and as a result I’ve changed circles of friends many times. I also really love having the independence to have total control over my own lifestyle. We’re fortunate to be able to pick and choose the activities we participate in, who we do them with, when, where, and how. Being in control of our own lifestyles is a big theme of Untemplater after all.
Freedom of financial independence
My list wouldn’t be complete without giving thanks for the benefits of financial independence. I grew up in a lower middle class family, and made my way through school with scholarships, loans, and part time jobs. I’m very proud that I became completely financially independent from my parents fairly quickly after graduation and now I can help them out for a change. Making money isn’t everything, but it certainly gives us more options in life, and it’s a great feeling being able to give back.
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