If you’re like me, it’s really irritating when you know how to do something and someone else is assuming you don’t. As a result, they are constantly trying to instruct, correct and warn as if you just fell off the turnip truck. Even as a kid, I felt like I already knew how to do things and I didn’t need my parents or teachers telling me what to do. Boy, was I wrong! At that early age I definitely needed guidance and instruction but oh how I looked forward to the day when I would be truly independent.
This issue continues as an adult. Most of us have experienced this when a back-seat driver tries to take over the control of the vehicle by verbally assaulting the driver. This reminds me of a BBC English sitcom called “Keeping Up Appearances”. Hyacinth Bucket (she insists on pronouncing it “Bouquet”) is the quintessential back-seat driver as her husband, Richard desperately tries to drive. Check it out on Netflix, you’ll get a real laugh.
The bottom line is, we all want to be independent and prefer not having people tell us what to do. As we approach the 4th of July, Independence Day, It may be worth your time to consider areas of your life where you might not be fully independent and consider what you can do to come closer to complete independence. Let’s consider 10 ways to declare your personal independence.
1) GET OUT OF DEBT. Declaring financial independence isn’t easy and will take time, but every little bit helps, even if you save just $1 a day or use something like this 52 Week Savings Plan. Debt will definitely keep you a slave to interest and your debtors.
2) COOK FROM SCRATCH. There’s no need to ingest ingredients that food production companies decide to add to their products when those ingredients are unhealthy. Growing your own food, learning to preserve it by canning and/or dehydrating, and even raising chickens and bees (both are entirely possible in the suburbs) are all ways of declaring independence and increasing self-reliance at the same time.
3) CONSIDER HOME SCHOOLING. Take a long, hard look at how you might get your children out of the public education system. When you homeschool, you remove your kids from “the matrix”, as I call it. They are free to become their own, independent-minded individual, free to explore their God-given interests and talents, free from daily, intense peer pressure (and sometimes bullying), and this sets the entire family free from the demands of public school.
4) REDUCE YOUR GROCERY BILL. Can you imagine spending just $200-400 a month on groceries? Well, some families do just that by cooking all meals from scratch (this is almost always cheaper than buying processed foods), starting and expanding a backyard garden, raising chickens and other small livestock, buying in-season produce at farmers markets, and basic meal planning focusing on the most frugal meals possible.
You may not have much control over your rent, mortgage, or car payment amounts, but you have a ton of control over how much you spend on food! Check out this article about planning meals to get started. Knowing ahead of time what you will be cooking and serving several days in advance alleviates a lot of stress and allows you to shop the grocery store ads and clip coupons in order to save even more.
5) GET OVER MATERIALISM. Wow, will this one set you free in more ways than one. There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses, especially when you think about how much the Joneses are spending. They may very well be in debt up to their eyeballs, as this old commercial reminds us. That sure doesn’t look like freedom or independence to me!
6) LET GO OF THE PAST. Some of the most miserable people I’ve ever known are tied to past mistakes, past grievances, past relationships. They have never let go and moved on to see what the next chapter of their lives might hold.
This Independence Day, forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made and learn from them. Be kind to yourself as though you were your very best friend. Give yourself grace, forgiveness, and mercy.
Seek out people who are positive, happy, and excited about life. It’s been said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If that’s the case, be purposeful and selective about who those 5 people are! Married to a perpetually grumpy spouse? Then determine the other four people will be rays of bright, shining lights in your life!
7) STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK. If you’re a prepper, you may already have set yourself free from worrying about what others think, but if not, this is something you need to make a habit of today. Nothing will bind you down more than worrying about what other people think, when the truth is, they really don’t think about you very often at all.
8) TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR TIME. Declare your independence by taking charge of your time. You do realize that time is life, right? As those seconds and minutes tick away, that’s your life ticking away, so why squander it by saying “yes” to commitments you really don’t want or need in your life? Spending it on mindless video games and forms of entertainment that have no value at all. When we don’t manage our time, we give control of our lives over to everyone and everything else, and there’s certainly no independence in that!
9) ELIMINATE SOCIAL MEDIA. If you do nothing else, set yourself free from SOCIAL MEDIA!! What a scourge this has become. On Twitter and Facebook, I have never seen so much rage, hatred, disrespect, and pure meanness on display every single day. Sometimes it’s aimed at “friends” but more often at total strangers.
10) FINALLY, REDUCE YOUR DEPENDENCE ON OTHERS. Preparing for emergencies and being ready for things like power outages, bad weather, and unexpected expenses. Simple things like clearing your home of clutter and unwanted/unnecessary belongings and getting organized, setting aside some money each week, and developing practical skills will all help you become independent and able to face challenges without total reliance on others.
I think we’re different. We were drawn to the idea of preparedness exactly because we reject the thought of being controlled and ruled over by others in a time of crisis and seek independence in ways that are often small but gradually accumulate to something of real significance.
Enjoy your Independence Day, not just this July 4th, but on every day of the year!