Sometimes it’s interesting to look back over a certain span of time to see how much things have changed or how much they’ve stayed the same. The United States turns 247 years old on July 4. That’s ancient in people terms, but quite young for a country. What have we learned in our nearly 250 years of existence? I’ll leave that for the pundits to ponder. Instead, let’s consider the article below and look back just 11 years to when I wrote it. On the one hand, it seems like a lot has changed, but on the other, not much at all. In the meantime, enjoy your 4th of July with friends, family, and your furry friends!

Let There be Fireworks

Once in a while, you need to celebrate, just for the sake of celebrating and cutting loose . . . even when things are looking down. Take this coming Independence Day, for example. Is everything perfect in America? Well, between the economy, high gas prices, uncertainties overseas, and terror threats at home, it’s safe to say things could be better.

If you look at the latest polls, Americans are in a funk, from the economy to unemployment to consumer confidence to what to do about the deficit, and we’re not quite sure how to get out of it. We’re not very happy monkeys, and any positive monkey chatter is at a very low murmur.

According to one economist, in past recessions, most people stayed unemployed for an average of 5 to 6 weeks before finding work. Now it’s more like six months to find a new job. Some have given up looking for work altogether. That’s pretty sobering news.

But it’s not all bad. With 9% unemployed nationwide, that means 91% are working. Interest rates are low, many companies are profitable, gas prices have stabilized, stocks have rebounded, and there are glimmers the powers-that-be will work something out on the Federal level to get our budgetary house in order. There is hope . . . and where there’s hope there’s reason to celebrate.

  • What’s the state of your business? Your career? Is it all you thought it would be? Could it be more? Of course, but that’s no reason not to celebrate what you’ve already achieved, and what more you can (and will) do.
  • What about the state of your personal life, your relationships with your significant other, friends, family? Do you like where you live, the people in your inner circle? If you’re like most, you’re surrounded by good people who love and care about you. If that’s not a reason to celebrate, what is?

While chances are things could be better—couldn’t they always?—more than likely you have lots of things to celebrate, even the little things (and maybe most importantly the little things):a beautiful sunrise, a cup of coffee that’s just right, a relaxing walk on the beach, taking in a ball game, a song on the radio, a job well done at work, an “A” on that summer/evening course you’ve been taking, even your health! If you think about it, the possibilities are endless.

When things on the national or international scale begin to overwhelm, I like to focus my attention closer to home. Look around. Focus on the positive. Celebrate what you do have. Celebrate the possibilities of a brighter future, amid lessons learned from the past. Be grateful for the here and now. There’s always something to celebrate — let there be fireworks!