Tomorrow is the fourth of July, our American independence day. We typically mark the occasion with barbecues, fireworks and celebration to observe patriotism toward our nation and that gives me pause. I have serious issues with our current administration and with the direction our nation has taken in recent years on a plethora of issues but I’m not going to address them – it will only make me angry, frustrated and it’s pointless. When I think of
There is no other country on earth like this one. I have lived in others and traveled through many and I’ve found something to love about them all, but I’m an American and I choose to live here. We’re mere toddlers compared with our cousins in Europe and infants compared to the ancient cultures in Africa, the Middle East and
It still is.
Our country has at times acted the bully and at other times, the protector. As a people, we are among the most compassionate and generous on earth. I look at this Independence Day as an opportunity to re-evaluate what it means to me to be an American and what I want to declare personal independence from.
1. Isolation. I want to be free of the isolation I feel personally and culturally. On a personal level, I’m working on it. I make meaningful connections in cyberspace and soon I’ll connect with flesh and blood writers when I attend the writers’ retreat. I need to spend more time with friends and family.
I want to continue to learn about other cultures and nations. When someone mentions
2. The Day Job. I’m not looking for total independence from my day job – at least not yet. What I’m looking for is the ability to step away and continue to remind myself that I am not my job. The world will not collapse if I don’t respond to each and every email immediately. I seek only independence from work obsession and the power to walk away at the end of the day. It will still be there tomorrow.
3. Consumerism. Less, better and sustainable is what we need. We are, most of us, shameless over-consumers. Too many purchases, too many clothes, jewelry, furniture, books, magazines, music, lawn chairs, cell phones, iPods, TV sets, DVD players, shoes, toys, appliances – too much. I don’t need all the things I buy. A few nice clothes, good books, great music, a wonderful piece of original artwork – less and better is more. I want to buy less and from real people, not worldwide corporations. I’ll buy less from Amazon and more from Tattered Cover. I’ll resist the urge to buy the shoes and clothes I won’t really wear. It’s better for the planet, it’s better for local merchants and it reduces my dependence on the day job.
4. People and Activities. I’ll strive toward independence from those activities that don’t enrich my life. Life is short, maybe shorter than we think and our time is precious. Better a day in the yard with Scott and Amedeo Modigliani (our dog), than an afternoon at a party we're attending out of obligation.
On this day, I’ll strive to be a better partner and friend, a better citizen in my country, and of the world and a better inhabitant of the planet.
What would you like to declare independence from?
I wish you a very happy Independence Day.