Celebrating our independence every day
My head is still buzzing about the 4th of July and it’s not that I got too close to the fireworks. It’s because of what we celebrated—our freedom and independence. As a child, those words were synonymous with studies about the American Revolution, the writing of our national anthem, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Throughout the years, I have always loved celebrating the holiday with family picnics and the colorful magic in the sky. My fondest memory was seeing the magnificent fireworks display from my window seat before landing at JFK Airport in 1986.
For me, the definition of independence broadened over the years to include a desire to “spread my wings” and continued to do so as I pursued career and other life goals. I never quite thought any of these actions were the same as our country’s desire to be free from British rule. Yet, in many respects they were.
I think it’s safe to say that every stage of life benefits from the independent spirit our nation was founded upon and our community is no exception. Here in Laguna Woods, we thrive on independence. We have folks in their 80s, 90s and 100s who defy the statistics by actively participating in sports, taking classes, and making meaningful contributions to the greater good. And we have the baby boomers who show no signs of slowing down.
So what’s our secret? I think it is found in a quote by Socrates who said, “To find yourself, think for yourself” and another one by Albert Camus who believed that “Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” Look around. What do you see? I see people thinking for themselves and taking action such as producing a powerful public service announcement, starting a new club, creating an informative TV 6 show, or writing books. I applaud all the folks who strive to better themselves and help others to do the same. We have an army of volunteers donating their time in so many nooks and crannies of the village that it’s hard to keep track. Have you seen the Recreation Department’s monthly listing of happenings? Most of the classes offered are taught by residents.
No wonder my thoughts have lingered on about independence long after the joy of actually celebrating it has passed. There are so many ways to look at it—historically being just a fraction of the definition. Yet, whatever independence means to you, consider celebrating it every single day because I think independence is pretty darn special no matter how you define it.