What does it mean to be free?

Understand This One Concept to Truly Honor and Appreciate Freedom

It’s early July, the time of year to celebrate and appreciate freedom! It’s easy to get caught up in fireworks and brisket and lose sight of what freedom really means. One concept of freedom will help you honor and treasure freedom more than ever.

Do You Genuinely Understand Freedom?

If you don’t invest the time into understanding freedom, do you truly appreciate it? To truly appreciate your freedom you need to fully understand it.

We Are Obligated to Value Freedom

Sure, we should appreciate freedom all year, just like we should appreciate mothers, fathers and sweethearts all year. We’re told to do so. It’s our duty to appreciate our freedom. 

Isn’t duty an of antonym of freedom?

I’m not saying that I don’t welcome the burden of appreciating freedom. I appreciate freedom more than most because I distinguish this significant aspect of freedom.

A duty is an obligation. Obligation is not freedom.

I appreciate that duty, though. I think I’m freer because I appreciate the duty. I’ve accepted a duty. I’ve given up a little freedom in order to appreciate freedom more.

I’ve given up a little freedom in order to appreciate freedom more.

Freedom is Relative

It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Hamilton: An American Musical.

Burr: The Constitution’s a mess.

Ham: So it needs amendments.

Burr: It’s full of contradictions.

Ham: So is independence.

— Lin-Manuel Miranda

Like independence, freedom is full of contradictions. Freedom isn’t the same for everyone. 

Freedom is relative.

Shaynestein’s Theory of Relativity.

Freedom is Bigger Than You

It’s bigger than me too. I’m not that dense. 

In Freedom from Others’ Concept of Freedom, I talked about my friends Nicole and Clay Akers’ summer in Spain. Freedom from Others’ Concept of Freedom
17th Day in Spainmedium.com

The Akers sold most of their belongings, packed what was left in storage and caught the first flight to Spain. The whole family. The whole summer.

They considered themselves free. Free from jobs, free from meddling relatives (my word, not Nicole’s), free to roam wherever they wanted and stay wherever they wanted. 

The controversy was that this was not their loved ones’ concept of freedom. They didn’t appreciate and respect Clay and Nicole’s freedom because they didn’t understand it. They have a completely different idea of what freedom is.

You can’t appreciate freedom if you won’t understand what is freedom to someone else and let them remain free to choose their own concept of freedom.

Notice I said won’t, not don’t.

Relatives can be a pain in the ass when you don’t live in the manner that they think you should, and the world’s not big enough to ever get far enough away from them. More of Shaynestein’s Theory of Relativity.

If you’re unwilling or unable to let others enjoy their freedom, then you don’t understand or value freedom.

Your Freedom Isn’t My Freedom

Wouldn’t it be great to have the freedom to do whatever you want?

Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

One freedom that many relish (pun intended) is the freedom to eat whatever they want. For example, Gretchen Rubin’s sister Elizabeth Craft enjoys her freedom from french fries. Have a listen.

Some people want the freedom of a new car every couple of years. Others want freedom from a car payment. I’d like to have freedom from oil changes, tire rotations and sitting in traffic.

Many want the freedom of home ownership. Others want freedom from the responsibilities of homeownership. 

I would love to have the freedom to have a drink whenever I want. Others prefer to be alcohol-free. 

I enjoy the freedom of having a coffee whenever I want. (Every evening I give up that freedom to enjoy freedom from insomnia.) Others want to remain free of coffee.

Many Freedoms Require Obligations and Duties


The freedom of home ownership requires obligations. You’re obligated to maintain your lawn. You’re obligated to keep up the maintenance. You have an HOA that limits how you decorate your home. 

You have to decide. Are you willing to take on the obligations of maintenance and taxes to enjoy the freedom of your own space?


Some want to be free to eat whatever they want whenever they want. I know I do!

I also have a hard time saying no to sweets, though, especially chocolate. As much as I enjoy eating what I want when I want, I’d love to be free from sugar. 

I have to decide. Do I want to give up the freedom of eating whatever I want or do I want to be free from sugar?


Do you want to be free to date whomever you want (assuming they want to date you) when you want? 

Or do you want to be free from the dating scene? 


I would like to be free from having a job. I have lots of employed friends who enjoy a steady paycheck and supplemented health insurance. They want to be free from financial worry and the health insurance marketplace.

 Sometimes other things are disguised as freedom.


Many don’t want to serve a god or a church. They want the freedom to do what they want. I have Christian friends who serve God to enjoy freedom from worry, greed, jealousy, lust, etc. 

Who Do You Serve?

I hate to admit it, but I serve chocolate. I serve coffee. I serve beer, whiskey, tortillas Españoles and my wife’s chili. (Oh man, my wife’s chili!) I serve the proverbial page. It’s actually a screen. What I mean is I have to write. I’m not free from any of them. I gave up those freedoms to be free to consume what I want.

I serve the tax collector. I also want the freedom of homeownership, so I have an obligation to pay my taxes.

I’m a servant of electricity. I want to be free from the extreme summer heat and winter cold in Texas, so I serve the electric company.

Our One and Only Freedom

This is the point. The most important aspect of freedom is that we only have one true freedom. 

The only freedom is choosing what to serve.

Freedom isn’t just getting to do everything you want. Freedom isn’t fireworks, beer and bbq. I prefer being free from the combination of fireworks and beer.

Freedom is having choices. Less choice = less freedom. Consider that thought when someone mentions privilege. 

Freedom is the privilege of deciding what you’re willing to serve in order to enjoy the freedom you want.

Happy Independence Day!

Let’s honor our freedom and those who have made sacrifices so that we can enjoy it.


Happiness Architect at www.IndependentlyHappy.com. Survived 25 years of corporate America. I take #Happiness seriously. So you don’t have to. I also humor.
Happiness Architect at www.IndependentlyHappy.com. Survived 25 years of corporate America. I take #Happiness seriously. So you don’t have to. I also humor.

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