We have plenty of ‘freedom to’ do things. Freedom to earn a living, freedom to market like a mofo, and the freedom to walk about our streets with relative levels of safety and security.
We’ve got seemingly endless amounts of ‘freedom to,’ but often these freedoms come with a bunch of accompanying weight that’s harder to identify.
‘Freedom to’ often leads to taking on more work, more responsibility, more productivity, and more tasks simply because we can. Those of us who are terminally competent ::waves:: just pile ‘Yup I can do that’ on top of ‘Sure that’s no problem’ on top of ‘Of course I can handle that’ until we’re buried by our own ability to get shit done.
We have to claim ‘freedom from’ in its many incarnations.
‘Freedom from’ is best reclaimed from our repetitive, seemingly inconsequential actions.
Freedom from squeezing in productivity. We don’t have to listen to podcasts (though That’s What She Said is always nice!) or educational audio books while working out, making dinner, driving, or showering. We can engage in one task at a time and even ‘waste’ a bunch of time each day.
Freedom from adding things to our to-do lists once they’ve been finished. We can just be done.
Freedom from working while everyone else is working. One of the benefits of having our own businesses means choosing the shape of our days, which means spending some of our hours walking along beaches or playing with animals or wandering in bookstores. We do not have to live out the Ford assembly line’s strict 9-5 hours.
Freedom from doling out pleasure like scoops of ice cream instead of treating pleasure as an infinite resource. There is no one giving us points for denying ourselves joy. There is no delayed gratification that will come from refusing to be grateful for the moments of brevity and lightness we’re given each day. Joy is a choice.
Freedom from limiting our favorite activities. Personally, I love reading in bed so much that I would only let myself do it for up to an hour before bedtime or at the beach. No mid-afternoon reading or morning reading or after-dinner reading for me, thank you, because REASONS (I’m not sure what I was thinking?). We’re allowed to like what we like and to fill our free time with it.
Freedom from changing your clothes to do yoga. OH GOD I JUST FIGURED THIS OUT AND I WASTED SO MUCH ENERGY NOT CHANGING INTO CLOTHES WHICH MEANT I COULDN’T POSSIBLY DO YOGA THAT DAY. Worst case scenario, we work out in the bedroom wearing underwear and move on with our lives. Best case scenario, we’re wearing stretchy pants.
Freedom from how work ‘should’ look. In a recent call with the brilliant Meg Worden, I was whining about how I didn’t think I had enough energy. I could get all my work done, but aren’t there people out there who can work for 11 hours a straight with no loss of enthusiasm? She said, “I would worry that you were manic if you could do your work — your particular work — for 11 hours a day.” Oooooh. I’m not broken. You’re not broken, either.
It’s okay to have intense focus in short stints and then go about your life collecting inspiration and energy and relationships like so many precious treasures strewn about your life.
It’s okay to find a schedule and a model and a plan that works for you and only you.
Your work doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s work. (Also we all hated group projects because we got stuck doing everything. Your business, blessedly, is all YOURS. So call the shots and cut the dead weight and make amazing shiz happen, please.)
Getting freer means means saying “no” to the have-to’s, particularly the ones that feel absolutely terrible and that I believe to be ripping the fabric of society apart in long, swift strokes. (See: that time I quit Facebook.)
You don’t have to participate in a system that sucks.
You don’t have to play the game everyone else is playing.
You don’t have to stay on a website or a platform because ‘everyone else is doing it.’
You can build a life that involves striding from one ‘yes’ to another, building a web of joy and life and vitality along the way.
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