Each year on July 4, I try to celebrate independence from something for the day. Past years have included independence from judging other people, from being afraid, and from sweets. (Don’t ask. Didn’t really work that well.) This year, I wasn’t sure until this morning what it would be. Celebrating independence from work seemed both too obvious and somehow disingenuous – I still need to work for a living, and, yes, I’ve been catching up on a few things I didn’t get done before my break started. While I’m definitely trying to have more courage, I’m still scared at least half the time. Plus I’ve done that one before. And I really like food.
Reading a message from a friend last night, I began to think about the people I know who are facing and making tough decisions. One is deciding whether to move back home. One is going to open his own business, in a tiny town much closer to the places and people he loves most. A couple are watching their kids grow up in ways they couldn’t have imagined or predicted. I thought about how that friend put it: maybe now is the time to take the leap.
Early this morning, doing critter care – feeding our two cats, giving one his insulin shot, the other her antibiotics, checking on where the dog wound up during the night, as his senses seem to become more fragile, though his joy in life doesn’t ebb even a bit – it occurred to me that this is the year to celebrate that leap itself.
All around, people are taking that leap into independence, in ways that amaze me. I am, too, in my own way, although most of the time it feels more like crawling. Sometimes more like crawling over sharp rocks, even. But when I see their courage, it puts me in mind of that Chris Rea tune. Feels like an invitation to go dancing down that stony road.
Let’s go dancing.