Through human development, we have times in our lives, where we want to explore and find more freedom.  It could be around two years of age, when we are fully mobile and want to go into rooms which are off limits, or leave mom or dad’s side to explore a new area of the park.  It could be around age 14 or 15 where we are dying to get our driving license, in order to drive into a downtown or city on our own with our friends (who want the same as well).  For some, they want the freedom of being able to drink legally, or much later in life as we see our last child leave the nest, or leave the office for the last day of work before retirement.

Most of those are healthy freedoms, which are tied into our natual path of development, cued by cultural rights of passage.  However, there are those times in life where we seek freedom in less than serving ways.  Most are triggered many times through a big crisis or stress which has built up over years.  As a result we want freedom, but really want to escape from whatever we can’t currently handle.

A mother of four works night and day to make her kid’s homelife as smooth as possible, but she begins to retreat and ignore the ones she loves so much.  She is “there” in person, but not mentally, and quality time she feels is impossible.  The same may happen for that college senior who has worked for three long years, hitting the books and stretching the potential of his mind.  He yearns for freedom on the weekends, and completely looses himself in bindge drinking and sex with anyonmous females.

The ways we take a break, and even escape from our stresses can tell us a lot about our mental health.  A new husband thinks smoking pot in the far back room of the basement, where his wife can’t smell anything is freedom, but those little times alone get longer, and side effects from smoking too much start to tear at their marriage. Months later he starts to wonder if that is truly freedom, or is he just running from something bigger? (To be continued next week…)