A lot of my life, I've spent soul searching.
Most of us do.
A few years ago, I took a tough look at what my values are in life. What are the things that feel non-negotiable? What is that northern star that keeps calling me?
This is a good exercise for anyone to do. I don't mean things like to be successful or make a movie or get that promotion or find a wife. I mean, what are the core values behind those things you strive for?
For me, the most significant core value I came up with is simple: freedom.
Freedom in every way. Whether I knew it or not, it's what I've been chasing for a while.
I think when I was younger, that answer might have been legacy. There's still a bit of that, but I realize now that legacy will come from being a good person and doing my best at everything I do.
Freedom, on the other hand, is something worth fighting for.
Obviously, I'm not talking about the branded version of freedom that we cheer all the time here in the United States of America. I'm talking about real, individual freedom.
Freedom of the mind. Which comes from cultivating mental clarity. Learning to be aware of the sources of thoughts. Learning to control the mind rather than letting it control you.
Freedom of location. This one is big for me. I feel most alive when I'm in a new place. There are lots of new places to explore in this world. Why would I show up at the same office every day if that's going to make me feel like I'm dying? At the very least, if I ever have to go back to an office job, I want to take every opportunity I can to travel on the weekends and any time off I have.
Financial freedom. It's tough. Financial freedom means being in a state of not stressing over money all the time.
Freedom to love. A few years ago, I had my first experience with polyamory, and a lot of things just clicked. It might be idealistic, and maybe someday I'll decide it's not what I want anymore. Being able to be present and outside of a state of judgment or anxiety when experiencing new people (romantically and platonically) is a real state of freedom. It's a real state of love.
A few years ago, this became clear. Since then, I've been working towards it. Now a lot of those values have become tangible realities in my life.
Financial freedom is the one I'm still fighting to turn into a sustaining reality. The others are genuine, and I feel like I'm living an authentic full life when I can be in those states.
So what are your core values?
Do those show up in your life right now?
If not, what can you do to head in that direction?
If so, take a moment and be grateful. I know I am.