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It’s funny how what we strive for and our definitions of things change over time.

Freedom means a lot of things to different people- some will say it is freedom from capitalism and a minimum standard of living in a socialist country where the government plans everything while others would say it is laissez faire capitalism in a free country. And in their way, both are right.

For me, right now, freedom means having a transferable skill set and in demand profession that will let me live where I want and make the money I need to pay my bills and then some. Freedom would be paying off my student loans, and knowing that I could get a job in my field even if I took a year off to travel the world. Freedom would be knowing I could move to be the person I fell in love with or choose to be closer to my family and have a more than reasonable chance of getting a job and not hampering my career by doing so.

Freedom means being qualified enough to choose who I work for and what I do. Freedom is not necessarily unemployment, or even striving to have a stack of “f you” money so I would never have to work again. It would be nice, but it’s not necessary to be free.

And so, though I’m looking for a job right now, for work, for some kind of fairly steady grind, much as it’s something I’ve never done before and which goes in part of my variety-seeking nature, freedom is work.

Freedom is not about having no commitments or a totally blank canvas of a future. Freedom is not being caught in the oblivion of indecision. Freedom is moving forward, step by step, knowing you can adjust the sails at any time but you are charting a course nonetheless, and you have a reasonable sense that you will like where you are going and you are enjoying getting there.

And freedom most of all is mental freedom, the freedom to love yourself anyway, though you aren’t there yet, though you aren’t perfect, and cut yourself a little slack and give up on perfectionism.

But most importantly, freedom is within. In your mind, in your inner peace and your clarity. And your honesty before yourself and God.