The 4th of July: One Year Later

One year ago, after a lovely evening spent celebrating the 4th of July, I headed inside to journal for the day. I recently came across that entry and was amazed at how things are both completely different while also somehow incredibly familiar. So, just as I’ve done with past journal entries, I am going to “react” to the journal. In it, I wrote:

I feel like an era is ending with my family. Tonight we celebrated the Fourth of July by having a campfire, and it gave me all the feels. It was nothing elaborate, just hamburgers and home fries cooked over the fire, but it made for such a nice time. We told stories and laughed as we shared memories, and the entire night felt like something from years ago.

I don’t know exactly when it was that this tradition was born, but it’s become a habit in recent years for the family to skip Independence Day celebrations crowded with people in favor of having a cookout, campfire, and setting off some small, New York State approved fireworks. The tradition usually involves the whole family along with our grandparents, and its simplicity always conjures up memories of my idyllic childhood.

I’ve been feeling like a big chapter is ending in my life as I get ready to move down to Florida, and that’s a hard thought to have. I’ve been so used to coming back from Ohio (whether I was in school or working there) multiple times a year to see family. It was a constant that I never thought twice about not having around. I was always the one leaving and returning, but that could soon change.

I wrote that while on the precipice of some immense changes in my life. Less than two months before, I had given up a dream job turned toxic nightmare, and while I had lined up another job in Florida, I was dreading the change. Additionally, my siblings had various plans that would take them far from New York, so I was viewing the celebration as something final.

Even though I often wish I could go back to childhood, when having a campfire with the family was the simplest thing, I know that is not possible. So instead of focusing on what I can’t have anymore, I am going to focus on what I do have. Things may never be the way they were before, but that is alright because there are some incredible memories still to be made.

As I’ve written over the past seven months, things have come full circle since this 2019 journal entry. I moved back to New York where I have the opportunity to work for an organization with incredible career potential, and best of all, I get to be close to family. My siblings’ plans all changed, which has allowed them to stay in the area, so I wrap up this year’s 4th of July reflection by feeling both a mixture of peace but also wonder at what’s to come.

If the past year is any indicator, things can change at the drop of a hat, so the best I can do is be flexible when those unexpected circumstances come my way. And in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy being firmly rooted back in New York State while savoring every little moment that I get to have in this familiar setting.

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