One year ago, this week, I found my freedom on Independence Day. I didn’t know it at the time. I simply thought we were on a luxury vacation that was well deserved. It’s funny the clarity that looking back can bring.

Last June I sold my home after experiencing a lay-off. The month was crazy. I listed the house on the first weekend of May and it sold before the weekend was over. Closing was set for June 4th and I had to pack and move within that time. The plan was to put my things in storage (as to not hold up the sale) and move in with my mother for a few months. This was to give me time to plan my next step. The plan worked but after that month of moving I was exhausted! I needed rest, relief and a new environment. The result? I booked a 14 day vacation at an all-inclusive resort to Playa Mujeres, Mexico. We arrived on July 4th.

Aja and the boy Mexican Vacation
July 4, 2017 Celebration at the Resort

Lessons Learned Over the Last Year

This past year brought things I never saw coming. (Check out the details of that in my post, Life’s Lemons Took Me Places I Only Dreamed.) If I had taken a moment to sit still, I probably could have followed the breadcrumbs. I was too in the picture, though, to see it. I say this like minor things have occurred. That’s not true. Major shifts have taken place. I have been deschooling, dramatically. I won’t say it’s been easy, nor has it been hard…it’s just been. In the process I’ve learned a few things.

One major thing that so many of us have a hard time grasping is that learning is not separate from living; the study of human development proves that to be untrue.

Deschooling is the recognition of that false teaching, and the lifelong willingness to see the holes in that argument, observe the realities about living and learning, and let our new growing understanding have a greater influence than our old fears.

In deschooling, we begin to see and understand the ways various types of oppression, if left undisrupted, intersect and strengthen each other, causing painful relationship dynamics between us and people we love.

~ The Deschooler’s Dictionary ~

Our Freedom is Worth More Than Anything

But we’s free! What you talking about? Are we though? I was trapped in a job I hated. They owned my time, my resources and my energy. The act of asking another grown being permission to use my own time grinded on me more than anything else! Having to trek a laptop around with me, whether actually working or not, between the hours of 8 am – 5 pm (7 pm if they had their way) was a chain on me. Going on vacation and having my boss ask, “I can call you if I need something, right?” was enough to make me explode! Freedom?

My child was confined to his self-image which, at the time, was formed around external values and perspectives. In school, he was labeled defiant because he doesn’t process as quickly as others. As he stood, trying to process the directives, instead of immediately moving to complete the task given, teachers labeled him defiant. The red numbers at the top of his worksheets…55…40…68…drove him to believe he was “dumb”. Overcrowded classroom walls that overstimulated him, causing him to struggle to focus and sit still, became “he doesn’t listen or obey”. Meanwhile, he was doing his best. Freedom?

The boy learning science unconventionally
The boy exploring science in a new way for him.

Deschooling is Necessary and Challenging

It’s one thing to face all that and wish to be done with it. It’s another to say, “I’m out!”, do it and trust yourself in the process. To not question your choices and wonder if you’re messing up your kids, for life. Initially, I heard of deschooling in relation to a process of transitioning children from public/private schools to homeschooling. What I found out is it’s for everyone, in many processes, and it ain’t easy. But it’s worth it!

It took me 1.5 years to deschool from Corporate America. I have a type A personality, I get stuff done. No excuses. Let me tell you. I couldn’t get anything done. I was trying to start a business and I just could not get myself together. Ideas were jumbled. Tasks were collecting dust. The inside of my brain felt out of place and uncomfortable; like it was failing me. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been kinder to myself. I would have had more empathy. I would have stopped fighting and let the process play out, in all of it’s messiness.

My son went through his own deschooling process, also. He’d argue about doing school work (as we began homeschooling). The textbook school work was not his thing but he fought anything that looked unconventional. He was angry, scared and confused, and at the same time he didn’t know how to relax. My poor child upheld the grading torture that school taught him, even though it was no longer important to us. He called himself “stupid” and “dumb” just because he didn’t learn something 100% at the first experience of a new lesson. My son could not, would not relax. We both had a lot of work to do and we continue to do it, now in other ways and areas.

Aja experiencing freedom in Chichen Itza
Exploring and learning at Chichen Itzá.

The American Dream Was Not My Dream

First, I can say that it took many years to accept that the American Dream did not belong to me! Then it took time to act on that! What was I to do? How was I to move forward? While it was so necessary and such a desire to shift directions it was hard; for many reasons such as:

  1. Just because I realized the American Dream was not my dream, it didn’t mean those around me “got it” and they did not understand my unraveling of it.
  2. Taking on additional major tasks, such as creating my own income and educating my son was almost too much to accept.
  3. The uncertainty of leaving what we knew, even though it sucked to high heavens, was scarier than anything I’ve experienced. (I won’t lie, it still is hard with new things in new ways.)
  4. What was my dream? If it wasn’t the American Dream that I worked 30+ years to attain, what was it? Not those far off wanderings that are mentioned but never really acted on. Are they?
  5. Bucking the system, if you will, takes courage that I wasn’t sure I had.

Our “Dramatic” Uplift to Mexico

A year ago, I didn’t know Mexico was going to play such a huge role in our future. That Mexico would help accelerate our deschooling process. Mexico would become like a person in our family. Me, the boy, the dog and Mexico. We moved! We picked up, with 1 book bag and 1 carry-on bag each, and began our travel journey in Mexico. I figured if we were going to do it, we were going to DO IT.

I realized my dream was to travel and to experience freedom in my day and life. Landing here in Mexico has been nothing short of amazing. We are learning to trust ourselves and each other. The little voices that whisper to us have been given authority within us. Our fears rule us less and our confidence has bloomed. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyone Can Have This

The biggest thing I’ve learned on this journey over the last year is that anyone can experience this. Yes, it takes a lot but it is possible. The great news is it’s not a requirement to move out of the country in order to have it. You can transition in your current space. You should start in your current space because that space is comfortable for you right now. Or maybe it’s not. Have you already outgrown it but don’t know where to go?  You are seeking your personal freedom. You are seeking your personal liberation, just as I was. I just didn’t know what it was called. I didn’t quite know what was going on but I knew something was happening. I’m guessing you can relate.

The boy feeling is freedom in Chichen Itza
Enjoying the opportunity to learn through experience.

My Commitment Expands Beyond My Family

In my commitment of freedom for myself and my son, I have learned that the commitment goes beyond us. It’s greater than us. There are people out here dying to live..but don’t know how to. Doesn’t that sound crazy? It’s true. Seeking your personal freedom, your liberation, is a process. (I dove into my process on the Fare of the Free Child podcast. You can check it out by clicking here.) It takes turning some things upside down. Seeing circumstances from a new perspective. Looking at yourself and saying, “man, what the heck is really going on here?” Many times nothing on the outside changes except the vision of the eyes viewing it and that is everything.

Freedom Found Independence Day Deschool in Mexico
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Let Me Ask YOU

Where are you? Have you considered how your perspectives, thoughts and desires have controlled or liberated you? Do your desires line up with your actions? Look at your life. It’s an easy answer. If any of what I wrote in the post has whispered to your inner voice then listen up.

I’m going to drop access to The Deschooler’s Dictionary (First Edition) right here for you. It is your “first step” resource. It breaks down, deconstructs and re-defines 18 words and phrases that will disrupt you and alter your perspective to lead towards your personal freedom. You’ll have the words to describe the feelings you’ve been feeling. That is so powerful and will help you begin to align your life on this journey of personal freedom. Get it here, free, today.


    1. Thank you Karen. I’m so glad you find inspiration in my posts. I love than you are uncovering and beginning to make your dreams reality. <3

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