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Choose Freedom

On this Independence Day weekend, I thought about a trip to the beach, a round of golf, a BBQ. We are 241 years old, if you count from July 4, 1776, when we declared independence from Britain. We are a free country. Plans to celebrate our country’s freedom are only as limited as our imagination.

What is freedom anyway? Lack of restriction? Yes, but we all have some restrictions, so in that sense no one is truly free. However, we do have the freedom to dream, and our dreams are limitless.

I once asked my son what kind of life he envisioned for his seven-year-old daughter. Without hesitation, he said, adventure. I want her to experience her dreams. He did not mention wealth or education. He did not insert his own ambitions on her. He simply wants her to reach out and touch life. He would like to live on a sailboat in Fiji, explore the wilderness in Tasmania, the mysterious statues on Easter Island. I would like her to experience our world, he said, not in a classroom, but face-to-face, and when she’s old enough, that is what I would like to offer her, not a vicarious life, but a connection to her dreams.

Most of us will never experience Fiji on a sailboat or the culture of different countries, but we can reach out and touch what we love, what successes we dream, what sets our pulse racing. Our dreams need not be confined to a profession, nor must they meet the standards of anyone else, as it is not praise that matters, but the courage to venture forth into the unknown.

We all dream of doing what we love, but few really love what they do. My three children studied finance. Follow the money, I told them, and you can do anything. They choose careers in the financial field where there was great potential. And then they left those jobs, all three, for jobs with personal satisfaction, for independence and room to dream.

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