Independence Day

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a kid, it meant my family birthday party; shared with my brother, another July baby. I'd get gifts. My Nana would make a cake. And then there would absolutely be a cheeseburger on the grill and maybe, if I was lucky a tomato or two from my Granddad's garden. 

Of course there were the fireworks and the story of Independence Day. We lived in the Philadelphia region and I visited Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House or something Patriotic and American as often as I went to church.

Let freedom ring. 
I loved the story of the fiery, brilliant, rebellious Patriots rising up against the tyranny of England. Men against the King. Commoners with pitch forks and fire in their bellies. Educated men with pens in their hands. It is dramatic; it is a timeless battle cry. Let my people go! Remove these chains! We are equal! I have a dream! Let freedom ring!

I like, like so many of you--my friends, my readers, my family--have become a hoarder of busyness. There are days I am buried in my own busyness; days when my own drive to "have it all," leads to me suffocating in it all. I have too many clothes; so too much laundry. I have to get this social engagement and I want to go to this event and I want to go on this vacation and I want to write this article and I want to volunteer for this event and I want to spend this time with my children and I want to take this class and I want and I want and I want and I want.

I want it all and I want it now. And there is no room. There is no room for one more thing; but I will make room. I will squeeze it in. It will be tight, but as long as the pile of social engagements does not collapse; then the pile of writing goals will remain balanced and then the pile of time with my children will also remain standing and maybe, just maybe I can eek out a little oxygen from the microscopic spot of freedom; which typically exists between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

I know I am not the only one who bought into the dream of "it all." I know I am not the only one who's father looked them in the eye at dinner and said to my 20-something-self: "You can't have it all at once. It is just not possible. You have it all over a lifetime. Not in a day."

And I know I am not the only one who laughed at this old man--and thought, he is just from a different generation. He hasn't a clue.

But, now, as I struggle to have it all, I find myself bound by the tyranny of myself. I am the King, the Despot who asks for more taxes and more time. I ask for more hours spent volunteering or more hours in the kitchen or more hours at the gym or more hours writing or more hours in structured socializing. I demand it of myself. And if I don't get it, I heap on more penalties, more tariffs. 

And now, I want my independence. I want to declare that I am free of myself. I want to sell my piles; toss out the things I don't need right now; maybe put them in storage until it is the right time; if that time ever comes. I want to dump my busyness in the Harbor. I want to focus on one thing at a time--not twelve. 

I want the freedom; the feel of the wind in my hair. The joy of an empty calendar and the freedom to do absolutely nothing. 

Happy Independence Day. 


  1. Well said, Trish, and a great way to start my day as I sit here thinking of laundry, cleaning, and what else I can get "done". I think I will take my coffee and sit outside for a while instead. Happy 4th!


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