TOday's exercise is to evaluate freedom and choice. Why do I yearn for freedom and what does it mean to me?
Yesterday I wrote about why we need to find our focus-- with the conclusion that maybe we're exactly where we need to be, and although it's tough, it gives us a chance to focus and reevaluate our goals.
Today, I'm questioning freedom.
This is not referring to the BIG basic freedoms, such as speech, press, religion and assembly. There are plenty of people living in this world that yearn for those freedoms which we take for granted every day.
I have the luxury of choice; to choose and design a lifestyle that I want, that makes my heart and soul sing. I don't take this luxury lightly, because the majority of the world has never experienced this freedom and never will.
Why do we miss the freedom that we used to have in Argentina and how can we get that back? How can we design our lifestyle here in the USA, and how does the quest for freedom affect our future goals?
I must digress to a story from 21 years ago. I was 19 and traveling to Europe with my University Design Program. This was not my first trip to Europe, it was my third and I remember telling my Mom that I will live in Europe some day. It was so foreign, yet comfortable to me. So interesting in the cultures, people, clothing, languages. My Mom's family immigrated to the USA from the Netherlands in 1955 and being a first generation American with a love of travel, I knew she would understand the draw that I had to Europe.
Fast forward to early 2008, when I had many more incredible international trips under my belt, a husband, newborn baby and a design business that was faltering due to contractors owing us lots of money. We placed liens on houses and fraudulent contractors refused to pay us for services rendered.
We decided, as a couple, to take a great leap that we had discussed a million times before: life abroad. Our life in MN was stifling and was the exact opposite of freedom. We were slaves to the independent businesses that we created. The exact thing that was supposed to create freedom, took it away from us. If I were to do it differently now, I surely would, but live and learn.
We loved the freedom we experienced in South America. We could live locally, without a car, walking or taking public transportation. We could take off on a weekend trip when we wanted, everything was new and different and exciting. Yes, there were challenges, but it was expected. We moved around, first landing in Montevideo, Uruguay, then Bariloche in northern Patagonia, then Córdoba, Argentina. We worked online part time and it payed the bills, since cost of living is much less than what we were accustomed to in the USA.
We moved back to the USA because of a job offer and decided to try it on for size after 7 years abroad. This has been a very telling experience.
Yes, the grass IS always greener on the other side of the fence. You always want what you haven't got (at least we haven't got it YET), but now we're dreaming of Europe: of Italy or Spain.
We're dreaming of a little house with a clay tiled roof; a sunny garden filled with citrus, avocado and olive trees; a warm breeze coming from the mediterranean and ruffling the white gauze curtains. We dream of fresh seafood and produce, an walking to the market to buy that day's groceries.
We dream of slowing down and connecting with the land of our ancestors... of living life at our own pace and by our own rules.
We dream of the ultimate freedom to do what we want when we want, and not be a slave to the mortgage, to a full time job, or to the commute.
We want the pace of the lifestyle we had in Argentina, along with the food and culture of Southern Europe.
That's what freedom looks like to me. Everything we are doing now, all of my writing and studying, all of Mr Healthy Family's building connections and experience, is building a program to be able to live independently, outsource the majority of our work responsibilities and live more than ever, within my (our) dreams.
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2.