The term "independence" conjures up different images for different individuals. For patriotic types, if you tack "day" on to the end of the word, their eyes might glaze over with star-spangled flags – the drumbeats of parades immediately filling their ears. That's all well and good. However, for some of us introverts, going solo is sheer heaven. For the most important aspect of independence, it would seem to me, would be the act of not being dependent on another person. In fact, the direct opposite of it. Not to say that we don't all need a little help occasionally. As much as one would like to strive for total freedom, we are dependent on other human beings for our survival. Plus, some of them aren't bad company.
That said, there is a certain liberty in doing things for yourself and going your own way from time to time. If you can this Fourth of July weekend – why not slip away from the crowd – even for but a little while? Strike out on your own and define what independence means to you. Here are some creative ideas to try out, and possibly spur a few of your own:
A HIKE (EARTH)
Travel to a path that you've always wanted to get your feet dirty on and commence. Breathe in the greenery and decompress. This could include a solo camp, as well. If you happen to be female, just be sure to pitch your tent far away from the sleazies who see your being alone as an open invitation to visit your site and hit on you.
A LONG DRIVE (AIR)
If you have a reliable vehicle and your life has been making you a bit batty as of late, just get in and go. Roll down the windows, blast the tunes that speak to you, and let your hair get messy in the wind. Drive until you can't anymore, with no destination in mind. Then check yourself into a nice hotel. Granted, this is a splurge, but stick with me here. Stock up on munchies and drinkables. Pretend you're a character in a movie making your great escape from something or someone. Treat yourself to bad cable movies and/or naughty ones. Pop a bottle of champagne and bounce on the bed. You are free! (Just don't trash the room, OK)? Ask for a late checkout time.
EXPLORING A NEW LOCALE (FIRE)
This could be a small town, or a large one. Although the independence theme would more likely lend itself to the former. Let yourself wander. Peruse some shops and let your mind wander, too. Buy an ice cream with a flavor you've always wanted to try. The key to utilizing your inner fire is to be bold in your choices, and wait to see where your inspiration takes you.
A BOATING EXPEDITION (WATER)
If you consider yourself a strong swimmer and have experience under your belt, find a place to rent a small craft and get out on the H20. Sailing offers a mentally and physically challenging combination, which can be infinitely satisfying. If you're looking for something more mellow, launch in a canoe, kayak, or rowboat. Row yourself out to the middle and drift awhile. See how good that feels? Sigh.
VISIT A BUDDHIST TEMPLE OR OLD UNFENCED GRAVEYARD (SPIRIT)
The key here is to find one that is secluded and that you have never been to before. Plant yourself and meditate. My favorite spot in an old cemetery is under a friendly tree. Discover where your mind takes you. Happy Independence Day.
Photo by AJ Page