Live Free or Die

Welcome to Live Free or Die, a monthly column on LIVING rather than just being ALIVE.

For those of you who have roots in the North (yes, it IS a Game of Thrones reference!), have an interest in American History, or perhaps just like road trips, the phrase “Live Free or Die” may present a familiarity.

Almost a decade ago, I sat on my friend’s kitchen counter, a bottle of wine in hand and my eyeballs, barely working in union, floated around the room to the bathroom door. I popped off the counter, handed her the bottle (who needs extra dishes when a bottle can be shared!) and took another trip to the loo. But this particular time, I saw it. Clearly, I saw it; hanging on her bathroom wall.

Her New Hampshire license plate from a few years back when she called NH her home, was dangling its infinite wisdom in front of me.

Live Free or Die” I said out loud. Again and probably one more time, I said it. Such a simple phrase of four easy words that presented me with a choice. Because, you see, we are all trapped and bound sometimes; clawing and scratching to get OUT of wherever it is that we think we are. And I was STUCK in my life; confused, uncertain, insecure; on the verge of either breaking down or breaking loose to free myself – but I hadn’t made any definitive choices about my STUCKNESS.

Statue of General John Stark. Stark, New Hampshire’s most famous Revolutionary War soldier, authored “Live Free or Die” in a famous toast: “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Joe Mabel

The New Hampshire Motto struck a chord with me. It was not the first chord nor was it my last call to action to ‘live free’, whatever that meant (I hadn’t quite figured that out yet). I had never even been to NH! But NH had come to me.

In many parts of history, we have all been working to free ourselves in some way or another. Whether it is freeing ourselves from literal slavery, freeing ourselves from karma, sin, financial burdens, relationships, sexism, racism, emotional tethers, self loathing, drug addictions, food addictions, natural disasters, disease, annoying family members, traffic on I-76 – you name it! Freedom is what we want.

So……What’s your ‘license plate in the bathroom’ moment? The one single moment among many that could have been forgotten years ago but never was? Like something or someone was speaking to you so clearly that you inherently knew in your gut and you recognized the truth immediately?


Six months later at my birthday party, I unwrapped a gift from my friend. Eyeballs floating again (it was early college people) and there it was! That NH license plate…

It has been hanging on many walls in all of the places that I have called home for the last ten years…

Welcome to Live Free or Die, a monthly column on LIVING rather than just being ALIVE. Tune in next month for the first installment. In the meantime, check out some history about the Live Free motto. In my research, I came across this article. (To learn more  visit


About Justine Bacon 11 Articles
Justine is an explorer of body, mind and world. Hungry by nature, she travels near and far in search of her next meal. Along her travels, Justine has visited breathtaking places and met some of the most incredible people. Moved, challenged, enlightened and humbled by their stories, Justine is eager to tell their tales. An avid label reader, she scrutinizes standard practices, placing food and food companies on her chopping block. An advocate of her own health, she works to inspire others to do the same by revisiting our ancient history with food and fiercely questioning the status quo. Justine loves being active and outdoors as much as possible. In her free time, she enjoys making playlists, reading menus and listening to podcasts. Justine holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Temple University and lives in Philadelphia with her partner Jeff and their 3 animal babies Bings, Marty and Elvis.

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