This month there was 100th Independence anniversary of Poland and such a celebration made me wonder what it means to me? Poland disappeared from the world map for 123 years. Only after the First World War it gained its independence back. How about its people? How about me? What does it mean to be independent?
For me independence, and in the same freedom, is the ability to make my own decisions, deal with its consequences, and most importantly – not to be judged as well as lead the life I want to live. When I have a good look at Polish history, my analysis brings me to a conclusion that during the communist times I would never be able to buy my own flat and live on my own! I would need to get married to leave my parens home. It wouldn’t mean to live only with the husband and starting a new family with him, probably I would need to move from my parents’ to my husband‘s family as during these times it was not at all easy to get your own apartment. You had to sign up a wating list and wait a few long years to be assigned one. Of course it was not even certain you would! I remember in the flat of 54 m², where I spent my childhood, were living three generations: my grandparents, my parents, me and my brother. Three rooms – three separate ones – each for one of the generations. Nowadays, when I compare the conditions I spent my childhood in with the ones I live now, it shows me how my perception of having my own space changed. I live in a flat of 48 m² and cannot imagine having a kid there. However I remember spending my childhood and sharing a room with my brother of 9 m². We managed, there was no other way. I remember I envied my friends who, when living with their parents and their siblings, still had their own room. For me that meant they had their own space and were allowed some privacy. I can’t say I had such an opportunity. That is probably why now I need a lot of my own space and privacy. In my opinion everybody needs it. We need to have our own corner where we are able to calm ourselves down and know that is the only place no one else has access to without our permission.
From one hand independence and freedom for me is to have my own physical space in life. On the other hand it is also making my own decisions without being judged. I tend to claim that the only person, at the end of each day, that is allowed do judge me in any way – is myself.
I also think that I happen to live in the most incredible times! Yes!!! Amazing ones 🙂 I can travel as much as I can, and where I want, as long my budget allows me to do so. I think money is just money, these can always be earned. The most important is that I can choose whatever destination, then take a flight and just go! 🙂 Isn’t that lovely? Within a few hours I can be on the other side of the globe! I wouldn’t be able to do so, in such an easy way, during the communist times. Luckily I was only seven when capitalism arrived to Poland and I don’t really remember a lot from communism. I think with my free spirit and eager to travel, meeting international people, visiting as many places as possible, I would feel a prisoner in Poland about 40 years ago. I am incredibly happy living in a free country now that allows me to buy my own flat, to make my own decisions, keep the passport at home and use it whenever I want it, to host foreigners, to observe how the city I was born in and live is changing and how colourful blocks of flats are becoming as well as notice how many tourists are coming to visit Poland. I am amazed how much Warsaw, the capital, grately changed during only 28 years of capitalism. Looks like freedom also means development.
Independence is something you cannot buy in my opinion. It is something you need to fight for, like I was fighting to buy my own flat that brought a lot of autonomy into my life. Nobody controls who I am inviting into it and in the same into my life. If I was still living with my parents, they would see who I am meeting and most probable they would make their own observations and comments about my friends I would not really want to listen to. I do not like being controlled by anyone or judged, even if these people are parents who do not wish me bad. As a grown-up I know, and I am aware, that the only person responsible for my life is myself. I stick to my beliefs, try to make reasonable decisions, and if some occur to be wrong I deal with the consequences, so I only try to make these that don’t hurt. 😉 Apart from living on my own, making my own decisions and sharing my positive emotions with others, taking responsibility for myself is the biggest independence and freedom I have ever achieved in my life. Even though capitalism may not be one the best systems, it gave me the possibility to have at least a bit of autonomy in this crazy, egoistic and commercialized world. 🙂