Are we free?

Sometimes, I really wonder how free we are.  Do we choose our lives – or do our lives choose us?  Do we deliberately choose our careers – or is it all just a series of random events that sets us on an accidental path, and one day, we wake up as an accountant (when our childhood dream was always to be a chef).

What is freedom – if not the ability to make our own decisions? To choose to live deliberately… to live purposefully – to decide what we truly want out of life – and then to pursue that dream… (?)

I don’t know about you, but many (too many!) times… I have felt as though I’ve been swept up by the tidal wave of life – and dumped unceremoniously on a shore I never intended on visiting.

Like… how did we end up living in Johannesburg for so many years?

Was this our plan? (no).

Was this our dream? (no).

Do we absolutely LOVE Johannesburg and can’t imagine living anywhere else? (no).

Is there any particular reason why we’re even here?  (ummm…. no).

The usual “answers” simply don’t suffice (or – at least – not any more).  Answers like:

“Well, we kinda grew up in the area” or  “Our family lives sorta close by”  or  “It has nice weather here”… but the truth is this:  we let life happen TO us. We simply floated along… on the Status Quo Ship… together with the many other compass-less folk who allow the current to just…. take them.   And we washed up here.  In Johannesburg.  For no apparent reason – other than the fact that we just LET it happen.

Now – some people may argue:  “Well, isn’t that freedom?  The freedom to choose NOT to choose?”


But I think that if we don’t choose – then, by default, we hand our choices over to somebody else – perhaps even to someTHING else… who will do the choosing on our behalf.  If we DON’T choose to live life on OUR terms – then those terms will be dictated by something or somebody else.  Maybe by the expectations of your parents… the demands of peer pressure… societal or religious influences…somebody or something else.

Perhaps that’s why so many of us go through these odd seasons in life – which we usually call a Mid-Life Crisis.

It’s like we wake up one day and wonder:  “What on earth am I doing here?  This was never my goal…?  This was never my dream…?  Why am I living this routine…?  Why am I working in this career?… Why am I living this life?”

Now excuse me for saying this… but that doesn’t really sound much like “freedom” to me.  It sounds a bit like a self-imposed prison.  A jail that we lock ourselves in.  The bars of this prison are the Expectations of Society / friends / family / other people… but the irony is – we hold the key to this prison, and the key is simply this:  The CHOICE to live deliberately and purposefully.

I choose to live deliberately and purposefully.  I choose NOT to be simply carried along by the winds and whims of society or the expectations of others.  I choose NOT to drift aimlessly.  I choose NOT to simply “survive” this life… or “make-do” with this life… or “exist”.  I choose to make deliberate and purposeful decisions about where we want to go – and why – and when – and how (starting with this one).

I choose to live my life fully “awake”… with my eyes open – standing at the helm – compass in my hand – with my eyes focussed clearly on the horizon.

I choose to be free.


A couple of my new friends have written blogs on a similar theme.  Read about their views and different perspectives on the meaning of “Freedom” here:

The Nomadic Family – Let Freedom Ring

Living Outside of the Box – The Freedom to Choose

Barts go Adventuring – Freedom and Straying off the beaten path

Flashpacker Family – Living a Free and Meaningful Life

Minor Diversion – Freedom to Roam

Family on Bikes – What is Freedom?

Bohemian Travelers – Do you know what Freedom is?

Break out of Bushwick – Free Falling

18 thoughts on “Are we free?

  1. Pingback: Let Freedom Ring- DeCapo’s Inspiration | The Nomadic Family

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  5. Pingback: The Freedom to Choose | Living Outside of the Box

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    • Thanks, Mary…. life is for the taking – and you are definitely one of the folk who aren’t just PLANNING on living it the way you choose to – but you actually are! (which is very inspiring and wonderful!) 🙂

  8. I can so relate to this! We’ve definitely been swept along with life and just let ourselves go with it. I’m choosing life too. (reminds me of the Trainspotting film!)

    • You know, people often refer to that Trainspotting film from ages ago. I don’t know why I’ve never seen it (I have seen SO many movies)… but reading your post has reminded me that I really must watch it! Glad to see you guys choosing life too! Makes me happy (and relieved) to meet so many like-minded sojourners from around the world. 🙂

  9. I’m definitely on board with this train of thought Heather.

    If we’re not purposefully living our lives then what are we? Zombies and sheep that just go along with what everybody else thinks, doing what everybody else does? Life happens around you if you just potter along on autopilot.

    So many people I know tell us how “lucky” we are. It’s not really anything to do with luck, is it? Luck would be just winning the lottery and giving up work and filling a bigger house with more crap. It’s intentional living. Finding a way to live a life that has meaning and is filled with wonderful experiences.

    • I hear you, Bethaney. I absolutely agree with everything you say. I also don’t think it has anything to do with “luck” – and everything to do with choice. We CHOOSE how we live. A few years ago, I had a graphic design / advertising business. It exhausted me… it was enormously taxing on my stress levels… and it left us in debt. But, I don’t whinge about that experience – because that was MY choice (a bad one – but still…). After the mess the business left us in, we CHOSE to get out of that hole – luck never played a role at all. We slowly got rid of our debt, and have been living purposefully and DELIBERATELY ever since. No more drifting along… going with the flow… going-along-with-what-everybody-else-things…. or automatically-doing-what-everybody-else-does. Those sheep & zombie days are over!!! Thanks for responding! 🙂

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