I best understand 'financial independence' through the lens of the word 'Retirement' (with a capital R).
As a kid I knew Retirement was a thing old people did. I knew it had something to do with parties - like something you celebrate.
"It also only happens at a certain age? Meh, I won't need to think about for many years." says younger me, probably.
To me, 'Retirement' has too many undertones and became too complex for it's own good. One undertone is that it's something society grants you once you worked hard enough. The other undertone is you now have permission to be "lazy" and relax those bones to do what you want. As a result of this "lazy perception", when retirement talk happens it instills guilt ridden responses like: "I dunno, I'll probably work past retirement, what else am I gonna do" or “NOW i can finally live life”.
Too many undertones, and as a result I don't find the word 'Retirement' all that helpful.
I think Retirement has too much emphasis as something you earn and who you become, versus the state of your financial situation.
A more interesting and helpful phrase to replace 'Retirement' in most discussions is 'financial independence'.
Financial independence is a much better term for that point in time when you are not required to gain external income for survival. The keyword is required, and survival risk is something you make with choices. It's just a point in time, and thankfully one you have say in.
The optimist in me says Financial indepdence is a point in time possible for many.
My wish is that more people understood this term, and maybe this digital garden gives you the inspiration to learn.