Independence Day.

Let’s make it personal. What do I need to break free of? What is holding me back?

I already know the answer. It resides in the dark recesses of my heart, hidden from scrutiny. Ignored both consciously and unconsciously. Lurking in an unseen realm, waiting for me to drop my guard . . . this cold, calculating blight to my well-being. Without warning it pounces – in the middle of a laugh. A moment of contentment. Amid a crowd of joyful revelers or along a moonlit path.

“Do not forget your dreams. Complacency has become your master.”

It’s a hard truth. One that makes me cringe. The fact is I put writing on the back burner to take advantage of a rare opportunity. It was not a direction I planned to go, especially since I was retired, but the benefits far surpassed my needs. It provided the means to move to a new house, to live a better life, to experience new adventures, to spoil my family – in the beginning. Before long, however, daily demands and weeks on the road squeezed everything from my life except work and sleep. My happy world . . . writing, camping, hiking, crafting, relationships – things that filled my soul with joy – became secondary. Too many holidays and weekends succumbed to overtime. At one point, I lived in our RV in another state. I grew fidgety. Forgot how to relax. Stress replaced creativity. Happiness fell way to a brooding discontent. A loss of direction.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I enjoy my job. I’m good at it. And were I looking for a second career, I’d be jumping for joy. But I’m not. Since the nature of my work does not allow for compromise, it’s time to make a decision.

Today is my Independence Day. I’m not ready to give up my “opportunity” just yet but the bell has begun to toll. I recognize the shift is near. It’s time to reclaim my identity. I must remember who I was . . . a creator. An author. A crafter and artist. A curious wanderer. A dreamer. A wife, mother, sister, friend.

I’m ready.

Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.