woman diving off cliffYesterday was Independence Day in America, the annual celebration of our declaration of independence from Great Britain a short 237 years ago. The U.S. is a baby in the relative world of nations. The revolutionaries who came to these foreign shores left behind all that was familiar to start anew in a place they had never been. Did they leave with a plan or simple take a leap of faith?
I declared my independence a few years ago. Some said my move was courageous, but it did not feel that way to me. My fear had left long before I did, and by the time I moved away from all that was familiar, all I could see was the possibility of a future without giving me away. I was claiming my life for the first time. I had often asked the question, “Whose life am I living?” The answer was finally, “Mine.”
I wonder if the revolutionaries of early America ever looked out across the Atlantic and wished they had stayed home. Did they miss the people and places they left behind or was the excitement and challenge of their new life so all-consuming they did not have time for reflection or regrets?
Not for a moment have I ever wished for my old life back. I worked through my grief for the pets I left…still get sad sometimes the way I do for my children who live far from me. I miss my friends, the men and women I shared connection with, and some trees I befriended in the woods behind my house. Although I lived in the same place for over thirty years, my roots never went deep. It never felt like my true home.
There is a place I would go and sit high on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi. The majesty of the river and extensive view would expand my heart and create a longing. I would get a feeling of heartache that took years for me to understand. I think of that place now and feel grateful that I followed my heart’s longing for freedom.
The way I took my life back and made it my own has been an exciting and wonderful journey. The challenges I have faced because of my decision pale in comparison to the challenges of staying in a life that was not of my choosing. I can now claim responsibility for all of it, the delight and the sorrow. With no one to blame and no one to credit, I walk into each day a free woman, creating the life of my visions and dreams. I own my mistakes as well as my successes.
Had I lived in the 1700’s, perhaps I too would have sailed from distant shores to make a new life in America. Maybe revolutionary blood flows in my veins explaining my quest for liberation. Today I honor the men and women of the world, past and present, who risk everything for freedom.

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