The brand spanking New Year approaching brings the chance for freedom and a fresh start for those blessed with the opportunity to make their own choices.
There are large freedoms (like living in a free land) and small freedoms, all of which can be life-changing to those who yearn for them. So many people suffer under circumstances that deny any freedom. They are trapped! They need our prayers and a little help wherever it can be spared, so they can escape, even if it’s by inches at a time. Having nutritious food, for example, makes a mind capable of obtaining an education and a body capable of physical work to support self and family.
As the unspiteful have said, people do need a hand-up, not a handout. We are not feeding “stray cats” by giving a family tuna sandwiches. We are giving them a chance to survive and move forward. Most of them usually want to make their own sandwiches with their own resources, and regain their dignity. In the meantime, let’s not pretend to know what they have suffered, or how deeply depressed they may be, unless we have truly been there ourselves. Many of them would also benefit from medication which they cannot get.
For others who more or less live free, that is, without fear of imprisonment for some minor offense, the New Year may offer another chance to work on their bucket lists. As we get older, fewer chances to meet our goals remain, so we try to accomplish what we can while we can. There are those beckoning places to visit and people to see, and sometimes, daring events to tackle. Always there are those who choose to complete or advance their formal schooling at any age. Even so, pursuing an informal education never has to stop and opens minds in all directions.
For me freedom should probably mean retirement but more likely it will eventually mean a shift in careers — partly for practical reasons and partly for the creative satisfaction of continuing to write.
Surely, we need wisdom to protect our health at all ages, so we can try to avoid some of the later decline that keeps us prisoner. Not always easy to do!
True freedom always has that element of choice. It’s being able to fit in most of the things we want to do when we want to do them, instead of always having to decline activities with family or friends due to lack of funds or to meet the demands of others. I’m not suggesting being irresponsible or selfish, or choosing between good and evil use of time. And for sure, I don’t mean choosing between good, better and best. Many choices are of equal worth, though not all.
The world will always frustrate us, usually on a daily basis, so we “roll with the punches” and try to “duck the curve balls”. But individuals who constantly have to give in to priorities not of their own choosing (that aren’t really priorities at all) cannot contribute to society in a meaningful way, let alone maintain their own sanity. Freedom means being able to recharge our own batteries so we can get up and give, get up and live.