For the past few weeks, all conversations amongst family members and peers have subsequently resulted in repetitive discussions regarding the Fourth of July. This annual holiday filled with barbeques, fireworks, and a whole lot of red, white, and blue is considered the ultimate symbol of patriotism in the United States--or so it seems.
As a young adult, holidays like the Fourth of July are a perfect excuse to party. It’s a national holiday that is highly marketed, and it is almost expected to have wild and crazy plans that more often than not include alcohol. As fun and exciting as this is, it unfortunately leads to a lot of disappointment, and a much too familiar fear of missing out.
Although the Fourth is technically the birthday of America, this is often forgotten in the whirlwind of plans and commotion that follows the holiday. So, I ask the inevitable question: what is all the hype surrounding the Fourth of July, or even holidays as a whole?
Personally, I find the Fourth of July quite similar to New Years Eve in terms of build-up to level of fun ratio. Both of these events, along with many other holidays throughout the standard calendar year, are graciously advertised as family-friendly, kumbaya-esque events designed to celebrate a somewhat meaningful pillar in the year and ultimately boost your level of joy and fulfillment. But, in reality, these events come with high levels of stress and even an aspect of competition, as everyone is quick to publicize every single second of their fun and games on whichever holiday.
Growing up, I’ve always hoped and dreamed my holidays would turn out as magical as them seem in all of those Hallmark commercials and movies. Sadly, those dreams will never come true, because those magical holidays grow farther and farther from reality each year. Whether it be the passage of time or my general consciousness of the world around me, St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo, New Years Eve, Valentines Day, and the Fourth of July are all holidays that give young kids an opportunity to dress up, young adults the excuse to drink, and adults a high-level of anxiety.
What do my mediocre Fourth of Julys mean for my perception of holidays for the rest of my life? Not much. But, from this point on, I know not to expect anything out of friends, family, or myself on these designated days of fun, because expectations will get me nowhere. The best way to approach holidays such as the Fourth of July is with an open mind. This way the day can be anything you make it--the best day of your life or just an average day with family and/or friends.
So, next Fourth of July, don’t stress. Everything will be fine. Even if you’re stuck at home watching fireworks with your family, it’s just one out of the 365 potentially awesome days of the year. Who needs a national celebration to determine what is expected of you?