I'm free because I have no obligations, except those happy ones of a loving partnership and friends. I'm retired, and there's enough money to satisfy me forever, regardless of what the stock market has been doing.
I don't have to work, don't have to answer to anyone, don't have to do anything but enjoy life. And to please a loving partner, who pleases me no less.
We have no debt, I buy everything cash, from cars to motorcycles to RVs, the only recurring bills being piddly stuff like utilities and insurance. We save money faster than we can spend it. We each have our own incomes, and we are, to use an old expression, each independently wealthy.
And so we share with others, through charities and in other ways. Because we have the freedom to focus our attention where we choose.
Just 2 hours ago we told a friend, who's having trouble meeting her electric bill, that we will change all her electric bulbs to the energy-saving fluorescents, and install a "smart" programmable thermostat to reduce her AC use here in Florida, all at our expense. And if she still can't meet her electric bill, we will cover it, though she doesn't know that yet. That's the freedom we have, to help others.
I sometimes lose track of the day of the week, because my schedule is my own, a luxury of retirement, not based on the workweek. I always carry a Palm PDA with me, so I won't forget my social commitments, which I suppose is a leash of sorts, and not freedom. But this leash is of my own making, which I can break at any time, not something anyone else can force me to obey.
I'm glad this thread came up, because it made me realize how truly free I am, the most free I've ever been in my life.