This post was originally published on Quarter For Your Crisis, an online community created to share stories of those who don't think normalcy is an option and who want to actually live and breathe their passions.
This weekend really got us thinking. While to many of us the 4th of July means the beach, barbecues, fireworks and a much-needed vacation, it also represents an immensely important part of our history.
We're sure many of you are reading this and thinking to yourself -- Well, duh! Do they think we know nothing..?
Just hear us out.
We know everyone is aware of what the 4th celebrates, and many even take a moment during the holiday to reflect and think about their freedom and those who have risked -- and still risk -- their lives defending it. But what really got us thinking this weekend is this:
While so many brave men and women have fought to secure and preserve our freedom, there are few people here at home that put their lives at risk to truly pursue it.
Risk. It's the big elephant in the room that is everyone's mind. While we are actively trying to make him a more infrequent visitor in our minds, the truth is is that the elephant is there - lurking around, making us doubt ourselves and our dreams.
So this weekend, when reflecting on our independence and our freedom, we kept asking ourselves the following question: Why did our Founding Fathers fight so hard for our freedom if we weren't meant to pursue it by all means? We have the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press, the freedom of private property -- just to name a few.
So why do so many of us shirk away from using our freedom to reach our highest potential?
We're scared. We doubt ourselves. We belittle our dreams and aspirations. We settle.
We live in a country where we have the freedom to choose how we want to spend our lives, what we want to work towards, who we want to love, where we want to live -- so why do so many of us sacrifice this freedom?
It's pretty simple: risk.
In a country where so much was risked to gain our freedom and even more is continuously risked to protect it, there are many of us who won't take any risks on ourselves. We don't risk getting the degree in what we actually want to study over the major that "makes more sense." We don't risk searching and fighting for a job in a field we love over a more secure and stable career (Exhibit A over here!). We don't risk taking chances on love, because it doesn't always work out. We don't risk pursuing our passions, because they are "just hobbies" and how in the world are we supposed to live a life by simply following our passions?
We let risk and the fear of failure take away our own freedom.
We get stuck.
So when thinking about this Independence Day, add a little something extra. Think about how you can make a conscious effort in your own life to pursue your freedom. Being "stuck" is an illusion. You're not stuck. At any point in your life, you have the power -- the freedom -- to make any choice you want.
Make what you love a bigger part of your life. Make the decisions every day that will make you a better and happier person.
Don't be stuck, be free.