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July 4th holiday encourages introspection on personal, national levels
July 4th holiday encourages introspection on personal, national levels

July 4th holiday encourages introspection on personal, national levels

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Dear Readers, What does independence mean to you? Is it something you always think of related to a democratic nation? Or is it a developmental stage of a 3-year-old? For me, I lived through the early 2000s version of Charlie’s Angels being released in theaters accompanied by Destiny’s Child’s Independent Women, so when I think of independence, that song is the theme track behind my thoughts.

I remember when I got my first apartment all by myself and how successful and mature it made me feel to be so independent. I loved that when I put food in the refrigerator, it was still there anytime I went back to look for it. When I prepared meals, I could put anything I wanted into my recipes without having to worry about upsetting roommates who didn’t like carrots or gluten or seafood. I could make absolutely anything my foodie heart desired, and it was glorious!

However, I ruined my girl-power, party of one, autono-bliss-ness by getting married within six months of a hookup, concluding my brief chapter of true independence, and I returned to mitigating cooking preferences and hiding treats in the fridge for myself. More than 20 years later, I’ve unexpectedly spent a great deal of time alone as a consequence of my bizarre rendition of empty-nesting that has accompanied my PhD work. They say that earning a doctorate is a very lonely endeavor, and I’m certainly learning that to be true firsthand.

Is this what independence is? Being left to our own devices to figure it all out? I think it is, America. This week, we are celebrating our country’s experimental endeavor to become an independent democratic republic, so it’s a good time to reflect on how we’re doing, as a country and as individuals.

Reflecting on our independence includes recognizing the resilience and strength it takes to truly stand alone and shine. Whether it’s a nation fighting for its right to taxation with representation, a single twenty- something who’s navigating the complexities of life or even a three-nager asserting the word no at the most inopportune times, independence is an ongoing journey filled with working through challenges and celebrating triumphs.

Let’s all take a moment to celebrate the independence that we hold dear — whether as Americans, individuals or both, and to honor the strength it takes to pursue our dreams, the courage to be/stand alone when we need to and cherish the creation of our own unique paths in this world.

Happy 4th of July, Independence Day or Freedom Day. May we all remember to be revolutionary, even if it’s by taking our tea just the way we like it.


Kelly Stone is an educator, comedian, mother, and author who loves the heck outta the river. She welcomes e-letters at or and adores handwritten notes and postcards via good ol’ snail mail.

San Marcos Record

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