Have You Undergone a Freedomectomy?


I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier recently. It’s a great movie, even if you aren’t a superhero nerd, like me. The most chilling aspect for me was a scene in which one of the bad guys talked how history had taught them that people will not allow their freedom to be taken by force. They will rise up and resist. However, those same people will gladly give up their freedom in exchange for security. They passively allow themselves to be searched, monitored, and recorded so that they will be protected from danger. Of course, the people doing the searching, monitoring and recording end up having total control.

Just a movie, I know, but it hits a little close to home.

Lots of people willingly undergo a freedomectomy in exchange for the security of a guaranteed paycheck and health benefits, or the feeling that they are safe from the bad guys. They give up years of their life to be trained for jobs in industries that may not exist by the time they graduate. They give up slivers of privacy and freedom of choice in exchange for the flowery promises of government programs.

I love that Captain America places such a high value on freedom, which is what this country was built on. It’s one of the most important values in my whole life. Here are some of the freedoms I hold most dear.

  • Freedom to work with my best friend.
  • Freedom from corporate bureaucracy. (And meetings!)
  • Freedom from a schedule set forth by school boards.
  • Freedom from a commute.
  • Freedom to spend most of my time doing what I love.
  • Freedom to be my own boss and set my own hours.
  • Freedom to work in my pajamas.
  • Freedom to make Monday and Tuesday my weekend if I want to.
  • Freedom to fail. (A gift that not many parents give their kids, by the way.)
  • Freedom to benefit fully from the fruits of my success.

As Captain America would tell you, freedom does not come easily. Some of the freedoms listed above were achieved by many years of hard work and sacrifice. Others came from making tough decisions to go against the grain, breaking a few rules that don’t exist, and being willing to fail (and look stupid in doing so).

The freedoms above fall under the umbrella of my most treasured freedom, which is the opportunity to write my own story. Obviously, the way you choose to write you story may look way different than mine, and that’s cool.

The important thing is being mindful of living the story YOU want to live.

We all have choices (and usually more than we think). Every choice — where you live, where you work, what you eat, who you hang out with, how you react to difficult situations, how you spend your money or even your Friday nights — contributes to your story. Following the crowd, or doing the things you feel like you “should” do or are “supposed” to do, are often the equivalent of giving up your freedom in exchange for security. Sometimes we feel more secure being in a boat with everyone else rather than being on an island by ourselves, even if that boat happens to be sinking.

The problem is that with each freedom you surrender, your story sucks a little bit more.

The freedom to write your own story is an amazing gift. Are you fighting for it? More importantly, are you using it?

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  1. I love the freedom of being in control of my schedule and I don’t have that in my current occupation, so I’m FINALLY taking the Leap of Faith! I gave them my notice and in a couple of weeks I will be living into my next adventure- being a free agent! A self-employed entrepreneur!

  2. Debbie Green says:

    Freedom to dance in the stores with or without my kids participation! Sometimes they are embarrassed and sometimes they dance! My older daughter has realized the joy and now joins right in. My newly 18 year old is still usually pretending she doesn’t know me! I was bustin a good move at the Nashville zoo over spring break and she was not feeling my groove at all!! I bet someday….they will be dancing and embarrassing their kids!

  3. Wendy says:

    I like the idea that sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to seek freedom—-to stay away from jobs that are “golden handcuffs”, jobs that are high money and benefits but low satisfaction.
    However, I am not sure what you mean by the “flowery promises of government programs”…. Coming from Canada, I see that by pooling our tax money together, we get a health care system that does not discriminate on the basis of class and wealth. It is available to all, rich and poor and yes, there is mandatory participation. We can access health care from wherever we live in this country as our system is built to be portable. I can move my family city to city knowing we will all get the same health care. Yes, we do give up some “freedom” in that a significant portion of our tax money goes to this essential service but I would hate to be in a situation where my fellow citizens could go broke simply accessing basic health services for themselves or their children. So, not sure if this was even what you were alluding to but felt passionate enough about it to say my 2 cents!

    • Wendy,

      Thanks for sharing your perspective! In the U.S. we also have a number of programs that are solid and help a lot of people. What I can’t stand are the ones that have extra things thrown in for political reasons, that don’t have anything to do with the original stated intent of the program. Sometimes government has a way of making things sound good, when in reality there are a bunch of downsides that usually aren’t considered.

      Thanks again for sharing your two cents :)

  4. Jill B says:

    I think it’s important to remember that we are fortunate that there are people who give up their so called freedoms so others can have their freedom. I’m sure many of our military people have things they’d much rather be doing than be deployed to an unfriendly, foreign country to help others. Think goodness they set their personal wants aside for the rest of us. I’m sure our community police and fire staff get sick of dealing with bureaucracy and not the best behaved people day in day out but thank goodness they do. And I know first hand that those of us that work in public education would like to throw in the towel and do something where we would be more appreciated but thank goodness educators/school administrators are willing to fight each day for what’s best for kids.

    • Jill – amen, sister! Most of the freedoms I listed above wouldn’t be possible at all if it were not for the brave men and women who have risked it all to protect them. They are real life superheroes!


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