Today we celebrate Independence Day here in the United States. July 4th is often a day associated with parades, family reunions, fireworks, and barbecues. Here in North Dakota, where June weather can still be on the cool side, this holiday usually means summer is finally here.
As with so many holidays, we sometimes forget the "why" behind the special day. We might not pause to think about the brave people that banded together against a much more established entity over 245 years ago, some literally fighting to the death for a cause they believed in. I tip my hat and say a heartfelt thank you to all the men and women that have fought through the years, and continue to fight, to keep us safe and free, here in the United States of America.
Freedom means different things to different people. The older I get, the more I realize two things: finding true freedom is an ideal worth striving for, and there is nothing easy about it. As the saying goes, "Freedom isn't Free." The past two years have proven we can never take freedom for granted.
While many of us don't literally "fight" for our freedom as part of a military branch (thank you to those that do!), we are all fighting our own battles to find and maintain the balance of freedom we seek in our own lives.
It starts (and ends) with our freedom of choice. The life I live today stems from the many decisions I've made throughout my lifetime. The same holds true for you. Some are big choices that obviously change the trajectory of our lives. Some feel like much smaller, seemingly inconsequential choices we make on a daily, or even hourly, basis. But the crazy thing is, it's often those tiny choices we make that can have the most significant impact on the quality of our lives. Freedom to choose is a beautiful thing, but making the best choices for ourselves as individuals takes constant vigilance.
Maybe we should each take a dry-erase marker and write this on our bathroom mirror for a daily reminder: "Make Good Choices!"
Because there is little else in life that has as big an impact on the quality of our lives than the small, day-to-day choices each of us make, often with little thought. It might be how we respond to the comment of a stranger on social media, or something a loved one says. What we chose to eat for breakfast or whether we get out and walk for fifteen minutes in the fresh air versus sitting at a desk for hours on end without taking a brain break. These little choices, compounded over time, make us who we are today.
A second chance in any part of our life where we'd like a "do over" is on the other side of making different choices.
My hope is we learn to choose wisely more times than not. Sometimes this can take years, or decades, to learn. We'll never be perfect, but we can be better than we were yesterday.
The freedom to choose what we want to do, to be, and to have can lead to a more joyful life.
I can't stress enough how important it is to prioritize where we spend our precious time. The years pass much too quickly.
I'm sure you've heard of "The Dash" by Linda Ellis. The poem is a poignant reminder to really live the time between our birth date and our death date and to focus on the things that matter.
Every Memorial Day weekend, we visit the graves of close family and friends to plant flowers and show respect. Strolling through such a hushed place is a powerful reminder to respect the freedom we have to choose how we spend our time here on earth. As I look upon the dates on tombstones marking the end of someone's dash, I can't help but wonder if they suffered any regrets when the end came.
Once again, as we celebrate Independence Day in American, I'm recommitting to the simple things:
What choices do you want to make to give you the type of freedoms you seek? What we strive for will look a little different for each of us, and isn't that the greatest freedom of all? The freedom to be ourselves?
Choose wisely and make the most of your dash...
Always here to cheer you on, Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!