This is July 4th, Independence Day for those from the United States. There are all kinds of freedom in this world. The first things that come to my mind are those mentioned in the first amendment to the US Constitution, providing for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The most serious breach of freedom in the news recently is the freedom to live when stopped by police, if you are a person of color. Racism has reared its ugly head once more, and it seems the US is more divided and polarized on that subject than it has been in decades. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that parents of young African-American boys especially, must give them “the talk” about how to survive an encounter with those who are commissioned to protect and serve their community. Of course, the vast majority do not misuse the power their position provides them, but all it takes is a few bad apples to taint the reputation of an entire profession.
In the United States, personal freedom is almost a religion unto itself, for better or for worse. Right now during this pandemic, I see people on the news who are whining and complaining about doing a very small task that will not only protect themselves, but others as well. You would think they were being brutalized by being required to wear a face covering or mask, yet they have no problem with other rules such as wearing shoes and a shirt in a restaurant or wearing a seat belt. Where is the outrage for those requirements? I don’t get it.
One of the reasons I came to Panama is to gain a greater measure of personal freedom. Freedom to go to sleep and wake up in the morning without the tyranny of an alarm clock, freedom to structure my time as I see fit, freedom to work at home and set my own hours, and freedom to travel when and where I want (with the exception of the current pandemic rules).
With those freedoms I’ve experienced here in Panama comes a greater sense of peace. I’m happier and more comfortable in my own skin than I think I’ve ever been. I have more friends and a richer social life here than I did in my hometown. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and living in harmony with my inner self, and that brings me joy every day.