When I was a kid, my family went to Wildwood, New Jersey for the 4th of July. It was always this week because my father worked for the government, in procurement. The end of the fiscal year meant all departments had to spend all the money in their budget before June 30. If it wasn't spent, departments risked not getting the same dollars in the next budget - when they may really need it. So that money had to be spent...even if what was being bought was overpriced or not immediately needed.
My father had to sign off on those things...and he hated doing it. Also, most departments waited until close to the June 30 deadline to submit their stuff. As a result, during those last weeks, he often didn't get home for dinner. And, when he did get home, his ulcer was acting up. Even as a kid I realized it was a stressful time for him.
Not for me!
My father's stressful week signaled to me that it was almost time to go down the shore (to the beach, for those of you not from the Philly area). We always left on the first Saturday after June 30. So, as soon as school got out in mid-June, my mind was on sand, surf, Morey's Pier, Mack's Pizza, and a "boardwalk sundae" - an interesting concoction that had everything sundae on a cone. And, oh yes, fireworks (still one of my favorite things).
As a kid, I didn't think much about freedom. Of course I appreciated the historical significance. And my father was a Vet, and [what we now call] a Wounded Warrior. So I had some modern-day knowing about freedom. But it was more about "others" than me.
Then, at some point in my 20's, after a broken engagement and its aftermath, something changed inside of me. Then I started fighting hard for my own independence. I wanted to stand on my own, to break free from some of the negative stuff of my history, to find my voice and be strong.
That's when I started truly valuing my independence and the freedom it gave me - to be who I am and do what I want - including making my own mistakes and taking credit for my victories. In Victorious Woman-speak, I wanted to be an empowered woman...the first Victory Chick. 🙂
Of course, as you probably know, there's a price for that. Not everyone gets happy when you assert your independence. However, the more you do it, the more comfortable you are with it and you don't want to give it up.
It was much later that I realized that freedom is one of my top five values. The conscious awareness of my values was life-changing. In fact, I've noticed in my workshops, when someone consciously connects to her values, her life shifts in good directions. That's probably why I post something about values so often on my Victorious Woman blog.
It's also why, when Joseph wanted to get married, I suggested instead that we live together. And, when he still wanted to get married, my freedom value became the seed of The Five-Year Marriage.
Do you ever think about your values? Do you notice them shifting over time? For example, health was always a value for me, but as I've gotten older, it's inched up on the list. Did you ever wonder what would you give up or stop doing...or start doing...if you fully honored your personal values?
Tomorrow, and through this weekend, I'm asking you to take a few minutes to think about freedom and independence - as a value - for you, as a woman. If you meditate, take it into your meditation. If you're driving someplace, think about the cultures where women are not allowed to drive. If you're chatting with some women, ask what they think is their personal experience freedom and empowerment.
Or maybe you just want to take some time to revisit your own values - something that can be particularly valuable if you are in some kind of transition.
I wish you a safe and victorious, and joyful Fourth of July - even if you are in another country.
With love and in victory,
#Values, #WomensEmpowerment, #VictoryChicks, #AnnmarieKelly, #Victorious Woman Project, #Victorious Woman, #FiveYearMarriage,