For years I have been questioning the concept of a free spirit. You know, that person who lives life on their own terms, typically off the grid and a bit eccentric. Wanderers, travelers, gypsies, nomads, lovers, experimenters, believers in things most unaccepted. When I was a young lass I used to admire those I believed to be “free spirited.” I wanted to be able to let go of judgements, forget rules, live on a whim. That’s what I believed free spirited to be.
There are a lot of factors that go into defining what that is. First, is “spirit” viewed in a cosmic sense or a “sacred” sense? Or is it a type of feverishness (look up synonyms to that word) that consumes a person? Is being “free” defined as feeling no obligation, sadness, responsibility, guilt, or commitment to values; not being dependent on anyone other than ourselves; being able to make our own choices? Does being “free” involve being happy as well?
I have determined that the original idea of being free spirited has been lost. It used to be about bucking an increasingly corrupt system and being able to live fulfilling lives, along with allowing love come and go ungrudgingly. “free love.” But as I’ve grown older and have made mistakes that taught me how to really be free, I’ve realized that the modern term “free spirit” is really just a way for someone to escape responsibility. It’s become free loading, grifting, begging, full of drugs, and ending up in really dangerous situations.
To me a free spirit encompasses community, encouragement, freedom of thought and action, no fear of judgement, self acceptance, being able to let go of an amazing connection after fully indulging in its essence. I fear these days a free spirit has become a glorified way of saying “I’m a vagrant.”
The free spirits of the past have contributed to life in America, provided advances in all realms of living. Maybe they hitch hiked, and maybe they did drugs, and maybe there was lots of “free love” going on…but I bet that the old school free spirits didn’t make a culture out of creating begging signs. I bet they picked up work here and there, maybe sold some weed on the side. They worked for what they needed. They didn’t ask others to give it to them, and when they had enough to share…they shared.
The difference between today’s free spirits and yesterdays free spirits is self reliance. In the days of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s, free spirits made their own way in their own way and loved their own way. They didn’t beg, they didn’t steal, they didn’t get hooked on heroin. They loved, they traveled, they lost a lot, the gained a lot, they survived the journey they wanted to travel all on their own. They found themselves and became comfortable with it. Today I feel young “free spirits” are lost souls constantly searching for fulfillment of a void in their being. I don’t trust any person who can’t commit to any one thing. And I feel today’s young free spirited people cannot be trusted because they have no commitment, not even to themselves.
Ask yourself “Am I living freely? And is it good?”
Live, Think, and commit to something