Celebrating your independence

Looking back on my Fourth of July’s, the holiday was always consumed with fireworks of some kind and not the emotional ones either.

Fireworks that snapped, crackled, and popped from all locations, just like the famous cereal, and decorated the sky while everyone awed over the commotion each year.

There were celebrations on boats overlooking the Chicago skyline, there were celebrations at the racetrack that delivered piped in music, and there were local small town displays gathered with neighbors on the closest porch or nearest park.

But, wherever the fireworks were presented, it was the ultimate salute to our country’s accomplishment for becoming independent many years ago.

Probably the best memories of the Fourth of July were as children when we couldn’t wait to have Dad light those sparklers that we would carefully parade around the backyard with our family and friends. Dad’s eyes were as bright as the sparklers and we never tired of lighting one after another. We were young and the meaning of the 4th of July was not really about the country, but about us.

Somehow, we were celebrating our own independence, our own accomplishments for that day, month or year. Maybe we had received high marks at the end of the school year or maybe we spent a vacation with our family, not causing an argument with our siblings. Maybe the lilacs we had brought to our teacher in spring lasted longer than a day. Maybe we were just excited that our firefly collection was better than ever before.

Though I would skip the sparklers since they can cause pain and suffering if not properly handled, don’t skip this day to recognize yourself, the measures you have taken to shine, the skyrocketing moments in your life when because of your independent nature, you made a difference.

Maybe you took the first step to resolving a conflict with a co-worker and you developed a new level of respect from others as a result. Maybe you received 100% on your paper in class while working full-time, being a single parent and saying no when you would rather be going to lunch with your friends. Maybe you are still unemployed but sent out 100 resumes last week, courageously called one company after another while avoiding the temptation of the sofa.

The Fourth of July does not have to be just for the patriotic but a day to celebrate your own liberty; moving forward with pride and dignity in who you have become.

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