Choose to celebrate this July 4th with childlike wonder.
“Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.” -Maya Angelou
Remember being little, and how natural it was to dive fully into life?
We raised our hands when questions were asked, made best friends with everyone on the playground and were the first ones in and the last ones out of the pool.
Then we got a bit older.
We stopped raising our hands quite as much. We stopped opening up to others. Heck, not only did we stop being the first one in the pool, we stopped even wearing our swimsuits to pool parties!
We started making more excuses and stopped being as active.
Well, my friends, tomorrow we’ll celebrate the Fourth of July and we’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage again with youthful enthusiasm.
Among many other festivities occurring in our local community will be the annual parade. Our little town still has police cars and firetrucks blare their sirens to commence the beginning of the parade. Marching bands and cheerleaders and politicians follow. Local business owners throw candy to the kids, Corvette enthusiasts drive slowly waving to the crowd, and a few surviving veterans of the Battle of the Bulge sit in the back of troop carriers drawing the biggest ovation.
In watching from the sidewalk, I always recall fondly a far less conventional parade that epitomizes the active dive into life that I hope you’ll embrace this week.
This parade took place during college. There were no politicians angling for votes, high school marching bands or Corvettes. There weren’t people lining the streets. In fact, there wasn’t even a single bystander watching from a folding chair, blanket or atop a cooler.
You see, to be AT this parade you had to be IN the parade.
Friends and family were invited over just before the fireworks were scheduled to start. As the parade was about to commence, we explained to everyone there would be no audience, only participants. We instructed everyone to get out of their seats, off their blankets and into the parade line. They could choose to hop on a bike or march in pairs; wave a flag, bang a spoon against a pan, sing or whistle.
Our roles, music, voice, and method of transport mattered much less than our collective celebration together. And we all had a blast!
We fully engaged and let go of our egos. We sang, marched, and celebrated together. Our motley crew even attracted a few random neighbors. The laughter grew, enthusiasm increased, and movement expanded as our march went on.
Now, there is no doubt that our youthful (ahem) exuberance as college-aged kids encouraged the playing, the singing, and the raucous marching. But there is also no question that because we all actively participated, we all enjoyed the experience more deeply.
My friends, tomorrow you and I have an opportunity to participate fully once again in life. We have the chance to gather with friends and celebrate the gift of life. March with me, will you?
Choose to not merely watch passively, but to engage actively. Choose to put your swimsuit back on and jump into the pool. Choose to lift your voice, sing your song and march in the parade with others. In other words, choose the joy you experienced so freely as a kid!
If you truly want to love life, determine to engage in it, give it all you’ve got and love it with a passion. Because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.
Not just on the 4th of July, but every day of the year.
So let the fireworks begin!
This is your day. Live Inspired.