My realization of what freedom REALLY means

This weekend, I taught an awesome Chair Yoga class and went to a Disney-themed bridal shower.

Aside from the lighter moments of my week, I also came to a sad, but life-changing realization.

For pretty much my whole life, I thought that “freedom” meant having ALL of my options open to me–in my career, romantic relationships, how I spend my money, where I move, and so on. I would feel tortured by choice paralysis (a term I learned from a lovely friend and follower) because if I made a choice in one of those areas…that meant the other options weren’t available to me anymore, and what if I got trapped or stuck in the choice I made?

Source: http://mamademics.com/the-beyonce-playlist-every-teacher-can-relate-too/

So I just wouldn’t make choices. I would date people, but keep them at arm’s length and never commit to them. I would freak out when applying to jobs because I was so scared that I would get trapped in something I didn’t like. I would refuse to consider areas in which I’d like to live, so I’d just stay where I was. I wanted all of my options open to me at all times, which in my head, was freedom.

But a few nights ago, I realized that refusing to make choices has only given me a false sense of freedom. I tweeted this:

Having all of your options open to you does NOT give you freedom. Making decisions and living life gives you freedom. FINALLY LEARNING THIS.

Not making choices isn’t allowing me to live life. Sure, I have all of my options in front of me, but that means I’m just watching my life and not living it. It’s a very empty, lonely, and exhausting space to inhabit–no deep romantic relationships, feeling stagnant, obsessing about possibilities, a lack of connection to myself and what I really want, lack of focus because there are so many choices with what to do with my time, how do I decide?

If we want to engage with life and have experiences, then we need to start making choices–knowing that we always have the ability to change our minds if a choice doesn’t feel good or really give us what we want.

I’m still figuring this out, but I think true freedom means that we live our lives, have experiences, and know that we can always make a change, and that no matter what happens, we can handle it and we’ll be okay.

Stay tuned for more on this topic–I’m still wrapping my mind around it.