"Come gather 'round people * Wherever you roam * And admit that the waters * Around you have grown * And accept it that soon * You'll be drenched to the bone ** If your time to you is worth savin' * Then you'd better start swimmin' * Or you'll sink like a stone * For the times they are a-changin'" ---Bob Dylan
So July 4th has come and gone and things are good, but very different than they were a year ago. Around Christmastime, the air fills with the sound of that old holiday stand-by: "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." While some will hear that song and truly believe that Christmastime fits the bill, I'll always think of July 4th when I hear it.
Maybe it's from growing up near the beach. The weather gets warmer, the summer people come back to open up their cottages, and suddenly your pool of friends doubles. The summer friends come back in fits and dribbles, but everyone is sure to be there by July 3rd (the nite of bonfires and bottlerockets in the sand) and July 4th (parade, beach, and fireworks on the waterfront). The excitement never dies, no matter how old I've become.
Or so I thought.
Sometimes it takes an earth-shattering change to make you face what you've been slowly realizing for a while. That the excitement has given way to a been there, done that, sort of resignation. That memories of last year, and the year before, and the year before that, all seem to include you saying: "Well, next year will be better." That you can clearly remember feeling relieved the year you got the flu and had to sit this one out. That many of your friends from years ago have little in common with you anymore except geographic closeness and bonfires on July 3rd.
This year, we skipped July 3rd altogether in lieu of the playground and movie nite in. This year we picked a different spot to watch the parade. This year, July 4th was spent on a different beach with a different group of people and a totally different vibe. This year the fireworks were watched not from the waterfront, but from across the bay on a blanket in the sand with a tiny little fire and an acoustic guitar playing.
This year, I learned that sometimes we do things only because we've done them that way so many times in the past. They aren't necessarily the best things for us now. And when we reach out of that comfort zone, sometimes we discover that there are better things out there, if we just look.
It's time to start looking. It's summertime. The most wonderful time of the year.