Today is Independence Day here in the United States. It's a great time to think about what that means to you—and what it cost to enjoy the freedoms we have.
It's also an interesting time to think about your own independence and that of those you love. Merriam-Webster online gives this definition for independence: "freedom from outside control or support: the state of being independent." And Dictionary.com says this: "freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others."
The latter definition raises many questions for me, some of which have to do with the aging process. I remember when my mother, who died at the age of 96, fell several times in her home over a period of several months. My siblings and I decided that the local care center was the best option. Mom was not happy at all about leaving her home. It wasn't safe for her to remain there, however. At the same time, we all knew how difficult it was for her to lose her independence. She was no longer free from the control, support and aid of others. She was quite dependent, in fact, on the care—and the time frames—of others.
Today many young adults return home because of the difficulty of finding, and keeping, jobs in this tough economy. They aren't young children anymore. Yet they live under a roof provided by parents again. This brings with it a good deal of stress. How much independence can be allowed? Where's the balance—both for the young adult and for the parents?
Then there's our need for approval or "the like of others." To one degree or another, each of us has some need for that—so we're really not independent of others.
As with everything, finding a balance that works for you and those you love is important. Independence: It's really a gift, isn't it?