Many years ago, I celebrated Independence Day by hosting a “Dependence” Day party. Sure, the idea had a cute ring to it but I wanted to think about all the ways in which we as members of the 21C remained dependent.
At the time, I was a self-employed woman with no parent, sibling, husband, partner, child supporting me, and I believed I was fully independent.
But as I drafted the party invitations, I realized the complex untruth of that. Sure, I was free to earn, invest, and spend my own money as I chose. Indeed, I was, and thankfully remain, free to vote and participate in my country’s elections and law-making processes. And yes, I could buy organic produce and greasy fast food all during the same shopping excursion.
FREE BUT NOT SO INDEPENDENT
However, I saw another perspective that I continue to remind myself of: though I am free to act, choose, and do so many things that women in prior generations could not, and women in other countries to this day cannot, I understand that I am wholly dependent on others to make this, the life I choose to live, possible. I am dependent upon my clients to want my services and pay me for them. I am dependent upon people who know more than me with regards to investments, laws and taxes.
I am dependent upon the shipping, farming, and dry goods industries to keep going so that I can purchase food to eat. I am dependent upon the fuel industry. I am dependent upon other professionals whom I can hire in order to patch a leaky roof or fix my car. And I am dependent upon the structure of our government to stay in place in such a way that continues to assure these things are available to us, because if not, I would be dependent upon an airline to fly me to another country so that I could attempt to recreate a life where I am free to enjoy these similar liberties I have not just grown accustomed to but for better or worse, believe are intrinsic to humanity.
SOME CALL IT “INTER-DEPENDENCE”
True, some call it “inter-dependence”. Whatever it is called, it is a form of dependence. Being dependent is not something we want to strive for – after all, as parents, we are constantly pushing our children to become more independent. That’s what being an adult is, right?
However, being dependent is a part of being human. We are social creatures. We thrive when we are needed. We wither when we are not. When humans are in relationship with one another – professionally and personally – bonds are formed; dependence in some form happens.
So this Independence Day, think about it: how are you independent, interdependent, fully dependent, and (why not) co-dependent?
Know that any of these can be changed at any time and for any reason. After all, we are free to make our own choices and act accordingly – and that, my friends, is assuredly a sign of independence.