What is Independence?

What does the word INDEPENDENCE mean to you? As defined in Dictionary.com, it means :
1. The state or quality of being independent
2. Freedom from control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others,
3. A competency

Malaysia will be celebrating 54th year of Independence come August 31st. ” Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) is a national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule in 1957, celebrated on August 31 each year. In a wider context, it is to celebrate the formation of Malaysia” ~ Wikipedia. SELAMAT HARI MERDEKA, MALAYSIA! (Happy Independence Day, Malaysia!)

Having paid respect for my home country on its “Hari Merdeka” let’s move on to a more personal note. Again, what is INDEPENDENCE to you? Can it be fully achievable? Can anyone claim that he/she is 100% independent? To be totally free from control, influence, support, aid of others?

In my personal opinion, based on personal life experience, 100% independence is not achievable, unless you live your life as an island on its own. But, No man is an island.

When I turned 21 years old, my parents presented me with THE golden-key pendant, a sign of achieving independence in life! It signifies that I could unlock my ‘childhood door’ to enter adulthood, with their blessings. That was the first time I “tasted” independence, with great anticipation. Independence comes with Huge Responsibilities. Excited but pretty scary, because you don’t know what lies ahead.

In my mind, I was thinking, “Now that I’m an adult, I shall be responsible for all my actions as I’m supposed to be wiser now. Being an adult also means I am responsible for my own financials. I have to earn in order to spend. It also means that I cannot crawl under the cover and wish upon wishes for problems to disappear into thin air or hopefully my parents would solve them for me. I have to face every one of them, head on. When people said that Independence comes with a price, it’s true! I can endorse that.

While we alone have to bear all responsibilities for our actions, we must not forget that any decision we make, will inevitably have direct or indirect effect on people whom we have contact with, like our family members, friends, colleagues, classmates (for those who are still pursuing their higher education), clients, service providers, strangers, etc. That brings me to talk about being inter-dependent.

It is true that no one can control you, your decision or action. However, someone may directly or indirectly have influence over your decision and/or action. What do you usually do when you come upon a difficult situation? Do you find yourself thinking about how your decision/action would affect you and people who matters? Do you try to figure out the end results, so on and so forth?

As we live our lives, there will be days when we need some support or aid from others, whether emotionally, physically or financially. No matter how competent you are, you can never be a master of all. You’ll still have to depend on someone else to provide the expertise which you don’t possess. God is fair in creating humans. I don’t think He intends to create a master of the universe and make the rests suffer as slaves.

Yes, we can be independent, but only to a certain degree. You know, we all live in an inter-dependent world. Our action will cause ripple of effects to people or things around us. When we understand that, I trust, we shall have a more peaceful and happier lives. We would also be more mindful in most of our actions.

Ponder for a while about your own state of independence….

~ Alice N.

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