Much of our early life consists of following our personal interests, exploring our ruling passions, and seeking the daily information we require as we go. In this, frequently is a desire to control as much of our lives as possible and influence as many people as we can.
At some point later, we may be lucky and end up knowing who we are, with many or most of our unique missing pieces filled in or somewhat addressed. Whatever freedoms we are lucky to experience from middle-age onward typically require connecting and then letting go of whatever Blakean “mind-forg’d manacles”.
Maturity and aging, in themselves, require an acknowledgement of one’s ‘warts’, foibles, and shortcomings. In that, some key self-knowledge but, more importantly, acceptance of one’s own limits and limitations. As the cliche says, no one is perfect. We are, finally, who and what we are, have been, and will largely continue to be. We begin to learn to let go of the past, past people, and larger chunks of our lifestyle and whatever impossible dreams.
The same generally holds true with regard to others, and the situations one lives in and experiences. Correspondingly, there are and always will be limits and limitations to others and whatever situations. They are what they are and will be what they will be, likewise. Often people and situations become frankly burdensome in various ways and cannot ever be changed by oneself or despite one’s best offerings or support. Letting go, again, proves to be the ticket to freedom. This is a stage in which we level with ourselves in the many limited/limiting contexts and admit that it is time to move on to other growth possibilities.
With others, humility, empathy, humor, and kindness will do as a general final daily mode of operation. There is certainly nothing that needs proving at this point. It is always useless at this stage to go against the tide or lack of or impossibility of change. By and large, other people have to work out their own lives on their own. Whatever will, positive choices, or desire to change has to be generated from within.
So, life process requires adjustments that steadily move one towards autonomy and the increased freedom that accompanies it. There are choices and adjustments to be made on the road to acceptance of self and others as well as self and situations/contexts. As a result, both freedom and autonomy create the attitudes necessary to live out what is left of a satisfied, fulfilled, authentic life.