Happy July 4th. Today we in the United States of America celebrate our country’s independence from England. It’s a much hullaballooed tradition involving cook-outs, drinking and fireworks. Those don’t always mix well, but we will fight for our right to drunken explosions and possible bottle rocket induced maimings.
I’m only mostly kidding.
Every year I take some time to contemplate what the true meaning of this day is to me personally. I’m proud of my heritage. I think the good old U S of A is a great place to live despite our dysfunction and assorted craziness. I look beyond the dazzling displays of pyrotechnics and grilled meat to seriously consider what we are truly celebrating. Two-hundred and thirty-six years ago our forefathers took a stand for a dream they believed with such conviction that they were willing to sacrifice life and limb, reputation, livelihood and even personal freedoms to see brought forth into reality.
That’s what I think about. What dreams are so powerful to me, today, right now, that I’m willing to sacrifice comfort and security to achieve?
I have to tell you, most of us balk when it comes down to that point. Things get too scary, too hard, too boring, etc. for us to break out of our comfort zones and really reach for something greater than we currently have.
What do you cling to that you need to eschew? What is out there that is so powerful, so overwhelming, that the thought of getting rid of it makes you faint? What is that one dream, that one goal that is so life-changing that you are willing to sacrifice anything to see it come to fruition?
Do you have anything like that in your life? I know military folks who do. I know doctors and teachers, parents and artists who find that moment — that ideal or goal that is bigger than themselves. There is a point in their lives where they step beyond, throw fear and complacency aside and lean out from that wooden pony to grasp the brass ring that has so far eluded their reach.
What is holding you back? What fears are smothering you? What obligations have you learned to hide behind that are stopping you from freeing yourself to pursue your destiny?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating you abandon your families, or quit your job (today) on a pie-in-the-sky flirtation with the gee whiz and the what-if. But I am suggesting that you may want to look at the life you have built and dare to dream the risky dream. What would it take for you to throw off the chains that tie you to the mundane?
It is never too late. Mary Delaney became an artist at the age of 72. You need to raise your head and look toward the horizon. Life is a journey of discovery. What is that one thing you need to do with your life? From what do you declare your independence?
It’s never too late, it’s never too hard. It only takes a willingness to breathe deeply and call to the heavens that you have had enough.
Then, as the euphoria settles over you, pick the path to the first goal, the next plateau where you can find a glimpse of your golden city, your rainbow, your land of unicorns and leprechauns.
If not now, then when? No one is going to rescue you. There is no fairy godmother. You need to pick your own pumpkin coach and get to the ball all on your own.
But when you do, the wine is sweeter, the air is richer and the life so much more rewarding than you ever imagined.