22 days to 50.

The Fourth of July was a big holiday when I was a kid. We lived in the mountains in Montana outside Helena. On the fourth we would drive into town to my grandmother’s house to get together with all the relatives on my mother’s side of the family. My mother’s sister had 3 kids about the same age as me and my sisters so we loved getting to play with our cousins. We would wear shorts and drink lemonade and count the hours until darkness when we could light sparklers and play with fire.

By pool I don’t mean a pool like you see in the suburbs of California. My grandfather dug a hole and filled it in with concrete. It had to be filled with a garden hose. At it’s deepest it was maybe 2 feet deep. But to us it was absolutely fabulous. Fourth of July was super special because we could spend almost all day in that pool.

13 years ago I was traveling a lot for work. I had to go to Asia for weeks at a time at least four times a year. I remember flying in from Hong Kong on the fourth or July and not associating it with a holiday. I was driving myself home from the airport (after a 14 hour flight) and saw fireworks off to the side of the road in Thousand Oaks. I suddenly realized that I was so out of touch with real life that I didn’t even know it was the 4th of July. I pulled over to the the side of the 101 freeway and sat in my car to watch the fireworks, dumbstruck that I was so wrapped up in work that I didn’t realize what day it was. I vowed right then and there to re-prioritize my life and spend the next 4th of July celebrating like a true American- barbecuing, drinking beer, and experimenting with pyrotechnics.

This year I am in Portland for the World Domination Summit tomorrow. I spent the day with the family of my good friends from LA. What I love about being “of a certain age” is that I can now determine my own definition of family. I don’t have to follow someone else’s rules anymore. I can love as many people as I like. I loved today. It’s always so fulfilling to me to spend time with people who just love to care for each other. It’s almost midnight and the fireworks are still going off but I don’t mind at all. Today was a great day.

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