Independence has departed from its original definition to better suit today’s setting. While its classic connotations like sovereignty or self-governance remain principal in reference sources (try to Google it to see what I mean), its practical uses nowadays, and the way it’s tossed around in everyday language, suggest otherwise.

For instance, to most people my age (mid-20s), independence is as simple as moving out of their parents’ houses and living on their own. 

In contemporary relationships, it often stands for keeping one’s identity intact, or not being too reliant on one’s partner.

In the workplace, it’s the ability to carry out a task without supervision, or perhaps take initiative to do more than what the job entails.

To artists, it’s creating and promoting art without the support of a major label.

It seems independence has been reduced to befit mediocre circumstances, and perhaps reasonably so. We are now in an era of selfies and monopods, where individual differences are embraced and self-expression, glorified.

But if there’s one thing that has persisted since 1898, it’s that independence needs to be constantly earned, or rather, fought for. Every generation has its own challenges to address—its own revolution—and I believe that just because a struggle is latent doesn’t mean it ceases to exist. It could be that our adversaries have become much more adept at hiding themselves and their repressive agenda; on the other hand, the present context allows for new ways for us citizens to fight back.

So how today’s revolution will play out is in the hands of individuals like you and me.  The repressive forces may be unseen, but if you take up a glass-half-full mindset, you’ll find that actually, you are confronting them everyday: when you decide to use public transit over taking your car to work, or pick eco-friendly and sustainable over unsustainable products, or join the call for an open, transparent government…

You get to choose what to do with independence.

How will you make use of yours? 

Greenpeace is looking for people willing to take action for the environment. Join the movement for a better world by signing up here.


Image credits: Rant Lifestyle, Kennedy Abshire via Chronicle3