If you think this is a political post… it’s not. But keep reading, because on this July week celebrating Independence Day in the United States, AND Canada Day in well – you know – Canada, AND let’s not forget Bastille Day is mid-month in France, the topic of independence is on my mind.
Independence is a virtue that too often gets wrapped up in the waving of a flag or the showing of colors. Sometimes its investing in tattoos and nose rings, or sneaking out in apparel that your mom really wishes you wouldn’t wear (your mom is right – you just don’t know it yet).
If a human must shout about PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE, are they really that independent? I don’t think so. It seems, they have a dependence on attention.
For me, especially this year, independence is highly personal.
After decades of marriage I decided it was time to leave. In our marriage I slowly had become invisible, and my only relevance was my paycheck which for years supported the family enterprise.
To be honest, I came to this decision a year earlier, but I wanted to make sure that what I was seeing and feeling were accurate. I needed to be a good example for our daughter, to teach her a solid lesson in self worth. But for her happiness, emotional health, and just all around peace, I waited out a year until she turned 18.
One week after that celebratory birthday, I calmly said goodbye and was the one to leave the home, and thus the marriage. My decision.
Independence is not a flag in the ground. It’s a quiet process.
In that first week of a new life forward, I bought a bicycle.
Bikes are everywhere here in Europe. Electric bicycles are extremely popular. Because the U.S. is so car-centric, electric bicycles have not caught on . . . yet. But slowly that is changing.
This electric bicycle of mine gives me freedom.
I now look at the world at pedal-speed (top click is 30mph). It zips up hills. It allows me to explore back country roads and funny little alleyways that a car either blurs by or fears to squeeze through.
This electric bicycle of mine gives me time to think. Only one person at a time can ride on my “bici,” and that’s me.
See that small corner market with its nice woman in the straw hat? Bike commuting means I can pull right up to say hello without the need for a parking space.
Also, bicycles have bells with a polite “voice.” And bicycles can be adorned with baskets that have personality.
Bicycles with baskets carry stuff – just enough stuff – like a good bottle of wine and the purchases from a corner market for the dinner that you will create in the European kitchen at your new home . . . with your 18-year old daughter.