By Daniel S.
For Eritrea, Independence Day not only signifies the recognition of the country as an independent nation but also the culmination of suppression, suffering and human indignity. It can be easy to appreciate what this means to us as a people and nation, as it is easy to juxtapose the above with freedom, development and dignity. However, it might not be that easy to recognize how critical independence is to another side of its benefit, realizing our potential to live rewarding life.
As a nation who has been colonized and persecuted for much too long, our independence implies the freedom to make our own choices, live according to our own values, and the ability to do so without relying upon others. Therefore every May 24, we celebrate the independence of Eritrea and the freedom that it provides us as a nation and individuals. It’s also an appropriate time to appreciate the opportunities that this freedom has provided and to reflect on the sincerity of our efforts to gain value from it. As we have seen in many countries, this criterion ultimately makes independence worthwhile. Without striving to discover and reach our potential, the independence and freedom that we have paid so much for will be nothing more than an opportunity not used prudently.
At the individual level, the question everyone should be asking is whether we are using our Independence to live a purposeful life.
A writer once reflected on his observation of the western world by saying ‘Many of us reflect on the lives of people in the seemingly affluent world of western countries with a sense of desire and envy. Even though many of these people are often much more troubled and unhappy than we realize, we automatically assume that their lives are much better than ours are.’
This point is brought for the argument that modern society has conditioned us to confuse happiness with money and fame. Although these factors certainly make it easier to live a fulfilling life, they certainly don’t provide fulfillment on their own. In fact, the writer concludes ‘people who live simple lives with a clear purpose are often much happier than the wealthy celebrities and millionaires that we envy.’
What the above assertion means is that having purpose in your life keeps you motivated and excited to achieve meaningful goals. And when you do, it provides a strong sense of fulfillment. While it would be great to be supported by affluence, being able to find meaning in your life is a much more precious gift. And that is what independence does; it promotes freedom and boosts our potential to make this gift a reality. All we have to do is embrace the independence and add purpose to our life. In today’s world, it’s easier to become depressed and never experience the fulfillment that we’re all capable of achieving. As such, finding meaning and purpose in your life can be a difficult and trying task. However, without passing this process, we will never be able to reach our potential.
We all have meaning and purpose in our lives, but the challenge is recognizing it. We can address this challenge by assessing what our passions are, or what tends to draw our strongest interest. But this has to be connected with our personal and national values. Giving back to the society that has brought about independence and keeping the pledge to our martyrs should be imbedded in these values. As years pass by there is a tendency to forget the essence of independence. And especially the new generation is prone to this phenomenon. The fact remains however celebrating our potentials in line with our values create the prospect for a much more fulfilling existence. Finding a way to support ourselves through the alignment of our passions and values will allow us to devote our life to achieving purposeful goals. And this in turn adds meaning to our life.
While making the most out of the opportunity our independence offers, we nonetheless shouldn’t take our independence for granted. It is not at all uncommon to see people in many countries who have fought for independence run the risk of taking independence for granted. Although most of us are fortunate to live in the time of independence, the boundaries of what we’re free to do can be vague. Our values, hence, should always be there to guide us. Because we need to remember that it is the shared national values that have brought the much aspired independence in the first place. The same spirit should continue to lift the nation in its national construction and in our quest to live a purposeful and meaningful life.