We are so very lucky here in the United States. We can express our freedom every day from the time we get up to the time we turn out the lights. It’s rare that we even think about most of them. Every day we are free to make all sorts of choices for ourselves. I have listed some below.
1. Free to say what you want.
Although sometimes saying what’s on my mind gets me into trouble. Does that ever happen to you? Do the words slip out of your mouth before you’ve had a chance to think about the impact those words will have?
2. Free to do what you want.
On this Independence Day we can choose how we spend the day. Are you going to or involved in a parade? Maybe you are going to a picnic? Perhaps you are hosting a backyard party and then going to watch fireworks. It’s a day full of choices which we are each free to make for ourselves.
3. Free to express your opinion.
Can we agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion – they do not have to agree with you, and you do not have to agree with them?
4. Free to go where you want to.
There are very few restrictions on us as to where we can go. Usually, these restrictions make sense. For instance, you can’t walk onto a movie set or into a recording studio unless invited.
5. Free to travel.
It’s relatively easy to travel inside the continental United States. Airplanes, trains, buses, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and your feet can get you where you want to go.
6. Free to choose your life partner.
Aren’t we lucky!
7. Free to choose how to spend your time.
I mean to say we are free to choose how we spend our time when we aren’t working or in school or involved in some other activity to which we have a commitment. We can decide to stay in bed all day, to read a book, to watch tv, to tour a garden. We can spend our time the way which makes sense to each one of us.
8. Free to dress the way that appeals to you.
You decide. Do you like to have coordinating clothes or do you like to mix it up? My granddaughter has a delightfully fun fashion sense. She is 3 ½ years old and decides for herself every day what she will wear. The other day she wore floral leggings with a pink and white patterned dress. Huge sunglasses completed her look. It was her choice.
9. Free to organize your home in a way that makes sense to you.
People sometimes ask me what is the best way to organize this space. My answer is always the best way is the way that works for and appeals to you. You are the one living in the home. You are free to organize the space your way. I will offer suggestions, but you will decide what works best for you.
10. Free to be you.
As Bruno Mars sings you are perfect “Just the way you are”. Be you.
This is just a short sampling of some of the freedoms we take for granted in the United States of America. Which one of these means the most to you? I hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July.
Happy Independence Day!
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.
It’s easy to take for granted how much freedom we have in the United States. And what a strange time last year was when many of the usual freedoms we had were restricted. But that was an anomaly. There are also periods in our lives when we have less freedom to come and go as we want- our age, physical or cognitive abilities can greatly impact how we get around. This is true when we’re babies and need the care to be in the world. And as we age and some of our faculties decline, we also may lose some freedoms we always had- like driving, walking, or feeding ourselves. Some days when I’m on my walk, I feel grateful that my legs and body can take me where I want to go.
Thank you, Linda. It’s all about the small blessings and freedoms that we take for granted until we no longer have them.
Those are great reminders. Unfortunately, in the world of social media, it lets trolls say what they want as they hide behind a fake name. They are the scourge of society.
Thank you. I absolutely agree with you. Social media has a dark side.
It’s funny, but this left me free to agree with what you said completely and yet disagree with you, as well. Everything you said, with your explanations of how you mean each one — it’s all right on the money. But even these freedoms are vastly limited by the behavior of “bad guys” or even the lack of action of a negligent government/school/employer. I think it’s easy for privileged Americans take these things for granted, but with the exception of #s 7 and 9, I think people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people without financial means, and so many others are not “free” in these same ways. So, you are right, but I think we’re obligated to recognize that even within these categories, freedom and safety are curtailed for so many of our fellow Americans. We can love our country (and should) while recognizing where things still fall far short.
We’re free to go where we want to go, unless we have mobility issues and someone else parks across the slanted boundary lines next to handicapped parking spots (the areas for which are designed to leave room for someone with physical challenges to exit the vehicle and set up a wheelchair), as the police can’t be bothered to enforce these transgressions, and governments fail to legislate any efforts to curtail this behavior. We’re free to go where we want, but other people are not really prevented from physically attacking BIPOC individuals (as we have seen from so many filmed attacks on elderly Asian people, just walking down the street in American cities, especially since the start of the pandemic). We’re free to go where we want, except there are still “sundown towns” in the United States where, while no longer legally legislated segregation, it is not safe for people of color or minorities to travel.
We are free to dress and accessorize the way that appeals to us, except that many Black American children are expelled from school for wearing their hair in a natural way, and many employers either have written or unwritten rules preventing Black women can wear their hair *naturally* (and not processed and flat-ironed). And while we are free to dress as we want, there are employers who do not allow their trans employees to dress according to their identity, and there are courts that will not convict men of sexual assault because of the way women were dressed (the same courts that would never refuse to convict a thief for stealing a man’s expensive watch because “what was he thinking wearing such expensive timepieces in public?”). And while we are free to dress as we like, Muslim girls and women who choose to wear pretty hijabs in school, at work, and out in the world are often attacked for doing so, whether verbally or physically.
We are free to express our opinion, even if others disagree, but that means that, short of invoking libel laws (and that’s a very narrow but expensive approach), there’s no recourse against people saying *dangerous* falsehoods masked as opinions, the kinds of things that allow someone like radio personality Alex Jones to not only say that the Sandy Hook shooting of all those children and teachers never happened, but for them to allow their followers (on their shows and platforms) to doxx the parents of slain children.
I love the way you elucidated all of these freedoms in such a way that, on their own, they are all valid and correct. We do have freedoms to make these choices, but for so many of our fellow citizens, making these same choices can endanger them. I am proud of access to the freedoms we have; I just wish that these freedoms could be more widely enjoyed by everyone in our wonderful country. You wrote a beautiful, uplifting piece, Diane, and like most of our modern world, it is both true and complex.
Julie, thank you so very much for this. You are spot on and explained things that were lurking in the back of my mind but didn’t know quite how to express. I’m happy and honored that you took the time to share your opinion here.