In(ter)dependence

Today is July 4th. In the United States of America, is a day we celebrate as Independence Day. I’ve been thinking a lot about that idea lately - independence. What an isolating concept. I’ve often been described and described myself as a very independent person, which I’m realizing is actually bullshit.  Independence is “not relying on others for aid or support”. This day is supposed to recognize our “independence” from Britain. But even after the war was won we still relied on them for trade, population (through increased immigration), social and cultural cues and years later an influx of moptops that changed the way we viewed music. We rely on other countries to survive and they rely on us. To what degree doesn’t make a difference.

We aren’t independent. We’re interdependent.

I’m where I am and who I am because of the people I have been fortunate to have around me and those I’ve sought to keep around me. I’ve had mentors (good and bad) who have helped me learn what to do and what not to do. I’ve had peers to bounce my grand ideas off of, to go for runs with, talk music with, grab drinks with…to keep me sane. My life is daily enriched by the people in it, and I enjoy being in a role where I can share what I’ve learned with people as well.

Last night, I had the sincere pleasure of spending time with a group people who began the night as mostly strangers but transformed into a very special group of people to me. We began the evening with one common thread - there were 11 of us, all from Illinois originally, all living in Colorado now. We gathered at my apartment in Boulder to see a good friend of mine named Eddie Mockus who was visiting with his lovely girlfriend Lexy. All of the invitees knew Eddie from some part of their life minus two friends I invited (though we later found out one of those two actually did know him in college!) Eddie showed up a bit late to the gathering which ended up being a fantastic thing because it gave the rest of us time to get acquainted and realize just how much we shared. I found myself all night tying pieces together.

“Erica - Jill here knows Debbie and Kevin from OLCHS.”

“Drew - Erica, Matt and Jill are all teachers too!”

“Randy, you’ve actually been to Club Industry in Chicago? I’m responsible for marketing that now! Lexy - it might actually be an event you’d go to!”

“Erica, Drew, Matt, Lindsay, Jill - you’ve all met Brian Hickey. Eddie slept naked in his bed one night when he was out here visiting a few years back!”

I overheard many similar conversations happening and realized very quickly that this group of somewhat strangers was far more interconnected than we ever could have guessed.

We’ve all had these experiences. We all know what the phrase “it’s a small world” means. Embracing the fact that we get through life together not independently of each other might just be the most important lesson there is.

We aren’t independent. We’re interdependent.

That’s something worth celebrating.