Do you have it?
As fireworks blaze overhead.. I am confronted with a question.. I want to challenge you, as well, to answer in your own mind.
What really, really is freedom?
The bill of rights has a few.. the Declaration of Independence gives some guidance.. the pursuit of happiness is a noble desire.
But what does any of it mean?
In our modern world, freedom for some may just be time to spend on a phone before bed playing a game.. surfing through social media. But .. is that free? Or is that slavery to a device?
Others may consider freedom the ability to work where they desire. To get a job in the craft they want and make a living doing so.. but do you become a slave to the pay? If your pay is great… the greater the slave?
Some quest for money and fame. Freedom, they think, can be secretly boxed up in such affairs. However, that desire for material goods only develops into a job.
This country, founded on a notion of freedom, still is pretty free to do what it wants. It even decided to freely choose Donald Trump as president.
We also have the freedom to make ourselves not free.
If you’re of a healthy age, younger and healthy, you may think you’re quite free. But consider your day.. chances are you’re waking up unusually early for the human body. You’re racing out the door.. you’re in a car for at least 40 minutes trudging through traffic. You get to a job and may either work a line or sit at a desk you’re not fond of.. You have co-workers that begin to take away your time with their inane smalltalk.. the day’s seconds start to quickly tick away. Time is of the essence but you are running out of time. In your moment of freedom, you get your bagged lunch or stop at the work cafe and get some miserable salad .. A small respite. The grind begins again.. and since you’re eating so bad and are filled with such stress, you search the building for afternoon caffeine or stimulants. You finally end your day! Time to party… After your drive..your traffic jam.. You’re tired. You watch the clock. You figure you’ll watch TV, spend some ‘quality time’ with family. And the bed howls your name.
You do it again the next day.
Americans, for as free as they are, don’t value vacations much. Even when they are on them they consistently stare at their smart phones.. This Fourth of July, you may be one of those AMERICANS UNFREELY working. If you’re off, you had to use a vacation day. If you don’t have them, you’re off without wage..
And on that note.. Here are some countries to compare Free America to:
Australia gets 28 paid vacation days and 8 paid holidays per year.
Ireland: 20 paid vacation days + 9 paid holidays..
Off to Africa! Tunisia with 30 paid vacation days..
The land of Italy is busy with 20 paid vacation days and 11 paid holidays a year..
New Zealand? 20 paid vacation days.. 12 paid holidays.
SLOVENIA! 33 DAYS! AND THAT IS tied with Croatia and Poland..
Spain is 22.. 12 holidays as well.
Germany calm with 24 paid days and 10 holidays.
Denmark..? 25! 9 holidays! Plenty of time for Danes to visit Germany.
Austria.. 22 ..
Iceland: A big 37! 37 indeed. Lots of time to bath in geothermal baths.
We are FREE from the Queen of the UK! But she gives the peasants 37 days a year!
Finland 40! Show them the money!
Sweden has 41.
Brazil has 41, as well.
OHHHH… I forgot to mention the United States. Some industries, especially the government and banking sector, have some union-bargained paid days. But for the majority of the working nation: There are 0 paid holidays. There are 0 vacation days.
And you think you are free…
Sure, those nations with big days off have some big problems economically. But you live in a vacuum if you don’t think the United States does as well..
We work hard in this country, we work our fingers to the bone. Our brains to the max..
We have high rates of cancer and heart disease.. We have high rates of stress. We proudly eats lot of meat and grill caucuses.. and have lots of colon problems and cancer…
And the opioid crisis didn’t just pop up–we have been over-medicating ourselves for a generation. This nation, for as free as it could be, so often is in a master-slave world where hunt for the almighty dollar sacrifices family and health for wealth. And so few of us ever even gain wealth anyway!
I have those overwhelming sense of nostalgia on the Fourth of July. I recall, as a child, picnics and parties.. late nights under fireworks yes but also catching fireflies in fields. While that may still occur in places, the Fourth of July is starting to so often feel like just a day. Maybe because so few people get off and those who do really don’t get paid for it.. Because we wave flags of freedom but watch the clock to make sure we’re not late for work after the one day off we get..
My friends, I think freedom is time. The time to do what we want.. the time to take off and have laughs and memories with family. The time.. the time.. the fleeting time.
When you’re ‘retired’ you have time. We are sold the bill of goods that in this nation your hard work will prove beneficial and then! Then! you will have the ‘freedom’ you have long desired. Sure life was a struggle. But when you’re on the downward spiral of living, you’re going to be FREE as a bird baby. Cash in that 401k!!!!!!! …OK…. No way..
Here’s what your life of giving us freedom is currently giving people: The Current average 401K as retirement is meaningless when 1 in 3 Americans have $0 for retirement. And the average among those that did is a not so whopping $200,000, with a median of $65,000..
Freedom isn’t free.
And you’re not free to have time to enjoy it.
Maybe instead of a new years resolution, we should start making some American Independence resolutions.
I’ll start: More time will be spent on what will matter to me on my death bed. Because when we run out of time, it’s the great equalizer death bed for us all..
And happy 241st everyone.