Today is Independence Day – the celebration of our country’s birthday! Our Declaration of Independence was a historical moment and one that is cherished and celebrated with picnics, barbeques, fireworks, hot dogs and apple pie! It is a great day to wear red, white and blue and to proudly wave the American flag.
What does it mean to be independent?
It is to not be influenced and controlled by others, to be able to take care of yourself, to be free, and not need others for aid or support. But being independent can be uncertain and can take on different meanings during the various stages of our life.
My first experience of feeling independent was heading off to kindergarten. The yellow bus picked me up at the bus stop and deposited me in front of Rolling Hills Elementary school on Long Island, NY. Of course, being the fourth child and having my siblings at the same school should have been comforting.
But no, the tears started to flow before I entered the building and much to my brothers and sister’s chagrin, I refused to move.
They were all called over to aid the teacher and after much negotiating, I was finally convinced to enter into Mrs. Kaplan’s classroom. After the first few scary and uncertain days, my love of school had begun and the feeling of being independent was joyous.
Graduating from high school and heading off to Providence College in Rhode Island was another big step in my independence. I could not wait to be on my own and making my own decisions. Or so I thought!
How could it be that I was having such a hard time adjusting?
Is it possible that I was having the same feelings from kindergarten? The first few weekends were the most difficult and I had wanted to return home. Eventually, the homesick feeling dissipated and I had begun to love school once more. The environment had become my new home and the next four years were filled with fond memories and the feeling of complete independence.
Having a family of my own, the feeling of independence is not one that I think about often. The busy years have kept me focused on my daughters and getting them prepared to be independent and out on their own. However, as they have become independent, I have started to think of continuing my own independence as I plan for my retirement.
The ability to be independent and have the dignity to remain independent during retirement is essential for me and my clients.
I realize the importance of planning to ensure that, even as I adjust to my retirement, I will be prepared and able to enjoy retirement with my independence and dignity! So as you prepare for the fireworks, prepare for your own independence by taking actions to ensure that it becomes a reality.
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