India celebrates its 70th Independence today – this day, India became independent from British colonialism in 1947. The day is celebrated with great fervor throughout the country.

But what does independence mean to us at a personal level?

Freedom to be me

Individual freedom means that I have choices, without the limits of bias, stigma or social pressure. I can be what I want to be. If I choose a particular career, or a partner, or a hobby, I should have the space and liberty to practice and participate in whatever I choose.

At a deeper level, I should be free to grow unrestricted. This is possible only if I can experiment with my choices. Only when I have experienced different things in life, can I make an informed choice and be comfortable with my decisions. Ultimately, I should have the freedom to be me – the real, unhindered me which can be the most fulfilling experience of life.

Smelling the roses

Modern life is full of stresses. We rush through our day trying to catch up with goals and meet deadlines. In this mad spree, we may lose out on me-time. We need to be able to pause and “smell the roses”. We should not forget the small things in life while pursuing bigger targets. We must remember that big journeys consist of many small steps.

We should have the freedom to enjoy the journey – one step at a time.

Freedom from dependency

Addiction is a real and present danger. According to WHO, it afflicts 10% of the population. For those trapped in alcoholism, drug addiction and other compulsive behaviors, it can be a miserable and deadly life.

Freedom from addiction is possible. It requires guts and courage. It needs an effort that is herculean but worth it. It needs support – from the family and community.

To achieve freedom from dependency, seek professional help. It’s there – you just need to reach out.

May you have a free and joyous life!