When is your Independence day? The headline jolted me out of my lazy morning on 15th August when I was checking my phone notifications. I had planned to have a regular day but a bit more relaxed because my husband had a holiday and would be taking on the prime parenting role for the day. But this line, that titled one of the many promotional emails I received in my inbox made me think.
Yes, we have been blessed to have been born into a country which saw us living a free life. Free from being ruled by another country, race & people. But I am sure, many of us agree, that we hardly live lives that are truly free & independent.
Between the hustle bustle of earning livelihoods, trying to increase our standards of living, paying high school fees, fighting traffic, functioning in bad work cultures or a judgemental society, where do most of us find the time to follow our passions or even focus on a hobby? Our lives are not our own in many ways and whether we agree to it or not, most of us are slaves to a system that manages our physical and mental lives!
Does Independence day have a meaning then?
Somewhere I don’t even think that anyone can live a life where they are ruled only and only by their own mind, wishes & desires. Unless one is an ascetic. When we live in a society and family myriad responsibilities, obligations & duties fall upon us, which we must heed and fulfil. That’s all alright.
I find when one kills their own dreams, desires & hopes or does this to another person is when we are anything but free and independent. At times, and I think most people on the planet do this – live mechanically without a thought about whether they are truly living and enriching themselves is when they are not free.
It took me 2 years and 8 months of motherhood to decide that I should seek entertainment in the form of watching Netflix. I am an old world soul who loves romantic comedies and series based on novels & books. So I started watching Anne with an E. The series is based on the book Anne of Green Gables. I have not read the book but I knew it was about a girl living & growing up in the countryside. That’s usually enough for me and satiates my love for the British countryside (although this book & series is not set in England.)
To get to the point, the protagonist Anne (with an E, mind you) is a young girl of 14 who truly cherishes every moment of being alive and living in the lap of nature. She breathes deeply in the crisp snowy air and squints at the summer sun as she overlooks the vast ocean. She does have her flaws – she talks too much and without much thought. But she knows how to live.
It really got me thinking about how small and insignificant our struggles are when you see the big picture of life.
Soon I turn an age which marks a big milestone. I am not shy of revealing my age. I just want to do the announcement in a big way and on the right date. So wait for that. 🙂 But as I march on to that big milestone age I couldn’t help but look back & look at how far I have come. I have built a family, built my own identity, carved a new space for myself as a blogger.
So many achievements in this, not so short a life that has passed. I also saw that many of these happened when I sought freedom to break away from things that were holding me back. I had many Independence days in my life.
Freedom from unilateral viewpoints
By far the biggest change that happened in my life was when we moved to the UK. I was at the formidable age of 14 then and spent the most crucial years of my teens there. I could ramble on and on about our life and times there, but for the sake of this post which is seeming boring already, I shall spare it. The biggest plus that came from it was realising that I have an opinion. I have a voice. This voice mattered. Nowhere before was I made to feel important & valued as I was there. And similarly, others have their own too. It is only enriching to have your own voice and yet let others have their say. Multiple perspectives make a richer life than just one viewpoint.
Freedom from the safety of the familiar
Moving out of Mumbai for my MBA was a big risk I took. I mean who leaves a bustling metro to go live in a small town right? That move took me out of the comfort zone of living under the protection of a family. But at the same time, it put me back in touch with my roots, my culture. Living in my hometown for 2 years brought more of a positive change in me than expected.
Freedom from expectations
We knew we wanted a baby. But we did not ever think we would have to struggle for it. And we wanted to have one badly. The more we struggled the farther away that dream seemed. And then one day when we stopped expecting and said “This may not be our destiny” it came to us. And from that day we have no expectations. Just wishes.
There have also been many a smaller Independence day. Moving on from toxic relationships, breaking bad habits, choosing to not let a vice control you, to becoming a better person – all these have been days of freedom and life change.
We may not have seen the actual struggle for Independence as our parents and forefathers did, but our struggles to find our freedom are very real too. Some of these we fight every day. Some we win, some break us. But we continue to find our place in the sun.
A question for you – When was your Independence day?
This post is a part of the Independence Blog Train and I nominate my colleague Roma to do the next post and take this Train ahead. The Independence Blog Train has been hosted by Foodietweeter and Prettylilthingss1 and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise.