Billy and I have been traveling the globe for almost three decades. Within those international trips we have noticed that humans intrinsically desire to be free.
For the most part you and I enjoy our freedoms. We have control over our finances, we can drive a car whenever we choose to do so, and if you are reading this, chances are you have a background of education and experience from having lived your life.
But there are other ways we close ourselves off from freedom and with a little sense of adventure and a change of perspective, you can gain those freedoms back. Take a look at some suggestions below.
Liberate yourself from a dull existence. Do you have a lifestyle pattern that has become a rut? Are the weeks ahead fully predictable with the same activities? Why not step out and do something different? Sign up for a dance class – it could be ballroom dancing, tango, Latin rhythms or freestyle. It’s a great way to liven it up with your spouse, or meet someone new at class.
Speaking of classes, sign up for a cooking class, a painting class, for an archeological dig in another country. Plan a motorcycle trip, an RV trip, a whitewater rafting trip, or a lazy week in a mountain cabin somewhere.
Purchase some new music to listen to, something by a different artist, or perhaps a different style than what you are used to enjoying. Order something off the menu that is outside the norm for you. Try a new flavor of ice cream. Buy a small item of clothing that will shake things up, like a FUN pair of socks, a bright scarf, a new color of lipstick or nail polish, a hat or a cap.
Make a promise to do something different – just one thing – every week. Watch how your life opens up.
Let go of an old concept of self. Self-descriptions and titles have their place, especially when we derive satisfaction from them. But what if a role you have been playing needs a little freshening up? Or what if you have outgrown that narrative altogether?
If you are a parent, a Ph.D., or an entrepreneur, no one can take that away from you. But what if you expand the way you express yourself in the world? Maybe you’d like to become a sailor, or a storyteller, or an adventure traveler. Don’t hold yourself back! As Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon says, “You can’t shrink yourself to relevance.”
Don’t let age define you. Because Billy and I lead a lifestyle of travel, we are constantly meeting new people. We have a collection of friendships that span all age groups and these relationships are enriching and rewarding.
Our friend, Stanley, is 86 and used to work in a carnival decades ago. He has stories that are riveting and his practical insight is something that we always enjoy. Stanley travels by himself through Latin America and we meet up with him from time to time.
Recently we asked him if he liked this certain favorite expat destination, and his immediate response was, “Nah… they’re too old there.” He went on to explain that these people – probably a decade or three younger than he – were in a rut, never tried anything new, had nothing interesting to talk about and were basically boring!
On the other hand, I know of several women – much younger than Stanley, by the way – who immediately describe themselves as an “old woman.” The interjections into conversations go like this: “I can’t do that (eat that, go there) I’m an old woman now and have to watch myself.” Or “I know I’m crabby today, but I’m an old woman and I’ve earned it.” Or even, “I get lonely from time to time, but what man would want to go out with an old woman like me?”
Enthusiasm, engagement with life, building relationships, and benefitting society through mentorship or volunteering all keep us young no matter what our age is.
Have you sunk into an age description? What are you doing to open up that self-limitation?
Drop out of abusive relationships – do something healthy for yourself. This one is very important. Sometimes we don’t recognize neglect or abuse because we have become used to it, but the prison walls are very strong. Whether or not it’s a working environment, a friendship, or a relative who negates your contribution, over time, this will wear down your self-esteem and your ability to see your worth.
If this is a longstanding situation or one you cannot change for all sorts of reasons, you must choose to recharge yourself. You can do this in a variety of ways.
Read positive and enlightening material that will help you gain a different perspective and open your mind to other options. Exercise. This is time just for you and the endorphins will contribute to a sense of wellbeing. Some people like to pray, meditate, do yoga or take long walks to clear their heads. Find something or someone to love, like a pet, a full garden, or a volunteer project. The affirming action you are taking here will patch the holes that toxic relationships create.
And lastly, if possible, consider other employment options, broaden your friendship list, or create some emotional space between you and your toxic relative.
We do not need to select “victim” from life’s menu. All of us have talents and skills and the world desires our contribution.
Will you choose freedom this independence day? Claim it!
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.