My annual ritual on Independence Day (July 4 here in the US) is to celebrate independence from something meaningful. Past years I tried spending a day being independent from worry, from judging others, and from clinging to expectations. (For last year’s piece on my No Expectations holiday, click here.)
As I’ve been promoting You, Jane and its message of “write your own happy ending,” it seems celebrating independence should be natural. Yet when I woke up this morning, and sat on my porch with my coffee (always) and my brother and sister-in-law’s puppy (a dog-sitting treat!), I thought about all the reasons we should celebrate our dependence on one another.
We don’t go through this life alone. We all experience times of deep loneliness, I know. And, many of us crave time by ourselves for quiet thinking (or enjoying some rock and roll cranked up loud on the stereo). But every day, we rely on others to make it from sunup to sundown.
We depend on people to open stores, patrol our streets, put out wildfires. Run gas stations and keep water flowing through our plumbing system. Pick up our garbage, teach our community’s children, repair power systems so our lights will turn on.
If we’re truly lucky, we also depend on people to listen to us. Take us seriously when we need it, and make us laugh at ourselves when we need to. We depend on the company of our dogs, cats, and other animal companions to be sure we get up, fill water bowls, go for walks, and laugh at them (or ourselves, when we need to). We depend on friends to let us know they’re thinking of us, and family to annoy and delight us in the way only family can. We depend on a lover’s touch, a sweetheart’s whisper, a partner’s willingness to hold us as we weep, vomit, grieve, heal.
So in honor of Independence Day this year, I salute all the ways we need one another. Let us be joyful in our acknowledgment of our reliance on others, and grateful for the opportunity to be the one someone else depends upon today.