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Celebrating Independence: Freedom of the Self

Opinion

Celebrating Independence: Freedom of the Self

As we celebrated independence, the question I ask you is do you have freedom for yourself?

A few days ago, we celebrated 47 years of sovereignty & freedom as a nation. The real question however is are we really free? Before you get the wrong idea, this is not a political rant. I will mount my soapbox and cry foul another day. As we celebrated independence, the question I ask you is do you have freedom for yourself?

I remember having a conversation with my parents several years ago. My mom was talking about how she would exercise, revamp her wardrobe, and essentially live her best life when the economy improved. My dad retorted that the economy had been in steady decline from before I was born and would likely only ever improve after we were long gone. Again, I reiterate, this is not an economic or political discussion, but my father’s words resonated with me. It made me wonder how many other conditions and outside forces I was a slave to.

For example, how often do we wait for the right job, the right partner, the right hairstyle, or even the right time, before we take a leap of faith & seize the life of our dreams? What are you a slave to? Recently I discovered I was a slave to my job. If you’ve lived in Zimbabwe you know the struggle that is our existence. From the time we were kids, we were told we needed to study hard, get a decent job & keep our heads down.

At no point were we taught how to innovate or thrive in new terrains. We’ve essentially been trained to serve. The economic hardships we face are a blessing in this instance because they’ve nurtured the entrepreneurial spirit inherent in the DNA of our blessed citizens. I commend Zimbabweans for their spirit of resilience & determination in the face of insurmountable odds. This combined with the spark to innovate & create for ourselves is going to make us unstoppable. Shout out to the hustlers!

I realized too late that my job was a source of constant stress & anxiety that was slowly drowning me in its dark depths. Isn’t it funny how employers value skills like being able to work under pressure, multi-tasking & resilience (the potent ingredients for burn-out) yet they rarely if ever prioritize your work-life balance, or give the monetary reward that would warrant said extra yards? Are there resources to identify, address & minimize burn-out? Would you be given time off if you were diagnosed as depressed? I don’t think so.

I had to ask myself why losing my job would be such a tragedy if it did occur. Well, you see, if I’m unemployed, I can’t buy facial products so I won’t be pretty, so if I’m not pretty I won’t find a suitable mate (yes mate not partner because that’s too much hard work & intimacy for my robotic brain to process.) This means I won’t be able to procreate and give my parents the grandkids they so desperately desire. That spiraled quickly! See this is when I realized that I’m a slave to so much more than my job. I’m a slave to societal expectations and my fears. I’m a slave to what the world deems to be a success. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No, I mean it wouldn’t be too shabby to get married and pop out one or two kids, but the issue here is how these expectations are now tied to my innate worth as a human being. I am enough just by being me.

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Too often we are bound by economic constraints, societal expectations, people’s biases as well as our own. In this way, we lose the greatest expressions of self; realizing our potential & fulfilling our dreams. I like to think of people as crayons, brightly colored, exuberant & incandescent. When you live out your dream, you add a unique shade to the world’s rainbow creating beautiful synergy and legacy. When we begin to pursue survival instead of extension and self-actualization, we lose our spark and slowly fade into grey. The world is all the worse for it.

I’m slowly digging into the archives that were my childhood dreams to see what I can bring to life with my own two hands. I may not ever become a fairy, but I can write that book I always wanted to, or maybe open that business I’ve always dreamed of. I will build my own empire instead of cowering in the shadow of another. So, are you free? Are you actively building the life you’ve always wanted or settling for the mediocre slave masters that keep you alive but will never help you thrive?

As always, the musings of a whimsical mind. Here’s looking at you kid!

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