Born Free But Then What Happened?

Life Balance

Lauretta Hannon2
Lauretta Hannon, Author

By Lauretta Hannon
Have you felt antsy lately? Have you ever dreamt of running away? I certainly have, particularly in the past when my (now) husband would bring up marriage or the mortgage. (There’s a reason "mortgage" means “death pledge” in Old French.) For you, the trigger might be the mindless task you must finish before you can leave the office, or the dishes that somehow always fall to you.
Would you like to know how free you really are? Measure your level of inner emancipation with these eleven questions. After all, you can’t plot your escape until you recognize what is holding you hostage.
Survey of Inner Freedom

  1. How much is your mood/confidence affected by how others respond to you/think of you?
  2. How long do you hold onto grudges against those who have “wronged” you?
  3. Do you feel uncomfortable spending time alone?
  4. Are you worried about how much money you have? Do you check your balance more often than needed?
  5. When faced with a setback, do you vow to turn it into a comeback?
  6. Do you envy what someone else has and wish you could change places with her?
  7. Have you been simplifying your life (getting rid of things you don’t need/ending unhealthy relationships)?
  8. Do you get neurotic about exercising? Do you obsess over what you eat? Or do you savor your food?
  9. Have you ever chosen to remain silent when you should have raised your voice?
  10. Do you laugh easily and often?
  11. Do you typically complain about what’s wrong in the world? Or do you work on improving yourself?

How did you do? Do not fret, even if your answers leave you a bit unimpressed with yourself. The important thing is that you’re becoming mindful of your inner landscape. You have already taken the first great step. Note the areas that need developing, and start thinking about how to tackle them.
Staring Down The Ties That Bind
The Bad Boy
Fear—life’s ultimate Bad Boy--is often the culprit behind our bondage. The next time he pops up his pointy head, remember that he is the master deceiver. The evidence he presents appears so real, but it is false. Prove him wrong by doing the very thing that scares you.
Ready & Willing
Ask yourself why you remain tied down. What are the benefits of staying where you are? Perhaps your lousy marriage provides financial security. Maybe you like the status that comes with your job, even though you question the company’s ethics. Know that you will not be free until you are willing to do, be, or give up what is required.
In Our Power
It’s easy to blame our captivity on someone else. But Big Girls take responsibility for themselves. As a result, we claim power over the situation and control our outcomes. We can see that our aspirations are actually our possibilities. We are warriors, not victims.
Remember When
Think of the time you were most carefree and alive. Was it when you were a child? A college freshman? Look hard at what has changed. Now work to bring your life in alignment with your authentic self.
You say you’ve lost contact with your true self? It is easy to do when you’re coping with the daily stresses of the marriage and the mortgage. But have no worries. All you need to do is be still and listen. Everything you need is right inside.

Lauretta Hannon is a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and Georgia Public Radio’s Georgia Gazette and has contributed to numerous newspapers.  Winner of more than two hundred awards in marketing and promotions, she is the former marketing director at Atlanta Technical College. She is also the author of The Cracker Queen.

More by Lauretta Hannon

Procrastination: How to Finish What You've Started

One Writer's Authentic Voice: Find Your Own

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  • Great post! and Rhonda I couldn't agree with you more ;)
    Have a beautiful day!

    Posted by FourthDecade, 10 November 2010.

  • Great article!! As the big 5-0 looms ahead, I realize that now is the time to really grasp all those things I long for, freedom included. Some of the questions gave me pause and I'll be sure to spend some introspective time making sure none of those things are holding me back.

    Thanks for the reality check. As usual, you are spot on!!!

    Posted by Myra C, 4 November 2010.

  • Awesome, Lauretta!!
    I'm pretty free now in my mid 40's, of course I was not always this way. I think with age comes this wisdom, the self knowledge and hopefully, self acceptance. I feel like I am finally there.
    Although, I can still hold a mean
    I love you, Girl! You are an inspiration to me :) .

    Posted by RhondaWalton, 4 November 2010.