I think independence is overrated. Or that we mistake being on our own as independence. Most of us are adamant in our beliefs that certain accomplishments make us self-determining and self-sufficient. But right down to the wire we can hardly stomach being an island. We depend on our parents. We depend on our friends. We depend on money. We depend on religion and various beliefs. We depend on conviction. We depend on other people’s opinion. We depend on love. We’re never really as independent as we’d like to convince ourselves. We’re never really, completely free.
You know what I think independence means? – it’s not traveling alone or living as far away from loved ones as possible; it’s not standing on your own financial ground or acquiring the sleekest domestic skills to boast of; it’s not merely making your own decisions. Independence is acceptance.
To be independent, you must recognize you’re never really. To be independent, you have to understand you’re never really free from the variables governing this world. That you’re human. That you’re weak too. That you’re lonely. That you cannot impress everyone. That your life is a struggle. Independence is the admission of our humanity – not our cooking skills, our budgeting know-how; not our individual trips to the groceries, nor our inevitable laundry duties; not our solo flights and solo fights; not our bills to pay, or the jobs that pay; not our grown up duties and decisions. None of the above-mentioned guarantees us anything aside from busyness.
Independence is not measured by activity. It is not our daily obligations to self or society. I do believe it transcends that. I guess once you learn to value the ordinary components of your life, and you understand how duties and liberties are not merely things to do or enjoy, that’s when you really become independent. It’s about seeing our lives against the fleeting backdrop of the world and facing it courageously, learning, loving and living along the way. It’s not merely a pursuit of happiness rather a fight for profound joy and honest contentment.
And it all comes down to one thing: accepting life’s brevity. That’s independence.