This morning I got thinking about the 4th of July, again. Sitting with my post-run Ovaltine my mind turned to freedom. Americans are very blessed with the amount of freedom we have to live our daily lives. However, I think somewhere along the line we've conflated 'freedom' with the Declaration of Independence's 'pursuit of happiness'. Now, anything that gets in the way of what we consider our happiness is impinging our freedoms. Our pursuit of happiness seems to give us the freedom to put common courtesy and decency towards other citizens in the back seat. And that pursuit of happiness has become an end in itself; one long marathon to get happier and happier because Thomas Jefferson said it's what we deserved.
Fortunately, I'm just a nerd with pretty toes so my ruminations usually end there.
This week, though, those thoughts keep coming back to my personal journey. I'm starting to realize what true freedom feels like. I never realized it but I had built my own cell around myself. I had gotten fat, lazy, sad, emotionally cut off, and bored. I kept trying and used meds to help and I thought I was happy but now I know how trapped I was. My wife would come bang her coffee cup on the bars every once in a while but I didn't listen.
I think more than anything writing this blog was the key to my freedom. It forced me to talk about things I've never even thought about and then when I told everyone my plans it gave me the push I needed to get out the door.
Now I hit the pool twice a week when a couple weeks ago I wouldn't even go because I didn't want to take my shirt off. I'm riding my bike twice a week when before I was too embarrassed by my old, pedestrian bike to take it out on the trails. I'm running twice a week when before I was too embarrassed to be seen run/walking.
Now that I've had a taste of what real freedom feels like, I'm never stepping back into that cell. If you're feeling trapped in your life, don't be afraid to try the lock. Take that first step or pedal or stroke. There are a bunch of us out here and we're dying for more to join us.