Happy 4th of July!
Today, we celebrate almost 250 years as the United States of America. On this day in history, a group of men signed the Declaration of Independence. A piece of paper declared to the world that the USA would no longer be dictated by a monarchy. It would, instead, be governed by the will of the people through a democratic process. The governing infrastructure would consist of three equal branches: legislative, executive and judicial to ensure a balance of power.
In theory, it sounds enlightened. Birthright would no longer dictate someone’s journey. The Declaration confirmed all men were created equal. In reality, this document was a utopian dream. Being born into a family absolutely dictates someone’s journey. The family’s race, class, economic level, geographic area, religion affects every aspect of life… health, education, relationships, career, residence, opportunities, and independence. All men created equal in the USA?!?! Nope!
And what about the women? The biggest flaw in the Declaration is absolutely the omission of women. Since July 5, 1776, our founding mothers have been struggling to correct that error. It took 150 years for the 19th amendment and almost 200 years for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect all women’s right to vote. American women have been in an ongoing and long battles seeking equality in their relationships, finances, workplaces, education, governing representation and freedom from sexual assaults. Nothing has been handed to women. We’ve had to ask for it, demand it, and crusade for it.
And in this past month, we got bitchslapped by SCOTUS. Women have lost their reproductive rights. We are living Handmaid’s Tales: The Reality Show. In Texas, not only is abortion illegal, anyone can get a $10,000 bounty for turning in a person trying to get an abortion or the person helping her. Lunacy!!! Although I know a group of well-intentioned yet narrow-minded right-to-lifers believe they have protected the rights of babies, they have, in fact, endangered women, children and babies. Overturning Roe vs Wade is not a pro-life celebration, it is the beginning of a movement to take away rights from women.
A true pro-life celebration would be for banning assault rifles, stricter corporate environmental laws, and 100% voluntary commitment of citizens to getting vaccinated! I pledge to buy the first round of drinks at that pro-life celebration.
Whenever I hear a politician justify their anti stance with ‘it’s not what our founding fathers intended.’ My answer is a resounding ‘so what?’ They weren’t gods. They weren’t necessarily even educated. They were humans and rebels doing what they thought was best within the resources that had at the time. A group of white men, two hundred and fifty years ago, couldn’t have fathomed the needs of the USA in 2022. I couldn’t have imagined the demands and pressures of 2022 … thirty years, a decade, a week ago. The world is evolving. We need to too! As a country and as a person, we must continue to understand the needs of all our citizens. And we must work for equality, equity and independence for all!
Despite SCOTUS’ ruinous ruling a week ago, June was a great month for me with friends and family…
I had dinner with Abi, Julie, parents/Jenny, parents/Jenny/Christy/Bob/Fred, Bill (2), Bilger/El/James/Steve/Mike/Smiley/Jason, Bilger/El/James/Scubi/Rich and Bob. I had lunch with Abi, Bill, Rick, Maureen and Sue C-F/Schooler. I had drinks with Ellen/Sharon and Rich/Bill I hosted Meat Fest 2022 for Bilger/El/Smiley/Jason. And I attended Scubi’s jamming Pride Party.
I also spent a long weekend in Upstate New York at the Walsh Family Reunion. I flew in and out of Rochester to spend time with my high school friend Julie. I then rented a car for the three hour trek. En route to the beautiful Otter Creek Lodge, I stopped in Seneca Falls to tour the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. The first women’s rights convention was held there in 1848. (the detour was ironic timing on my part). Once at the reunion, I shared many meals with parents, 1 sister, 6 aunts, 5 uncles, and 2 cousins. And we took a scenic and educational boat cruise on the St. Lawrence Seaway through the 1000 Islands (which technically has 1,840ish islands). The Walshes typically hold a reunion every three years. Our previous reunion had been outside Nashville in 2018. The pandemic delayed this one. And it was fantastic seeing and chatting with long distance family.
Back in Chicago, I saw and reviewed three plays: “After Life” with Ellen, “My Fair Lady” with Natalie and “It Came from Outer Space” with Bob. Bill and I enjoyed the Monet and Impressionists Immersion Experience. I went to two movies: “Downton Abbey: New Era” with James and El and “Elvis” with Rich and James. I also watched “Obi-Wan-Kenobi” – season 1, “That Damn Michael Che” – season 1, David Letterman’s interview with Ryan Reynolds, J-Lo’s “Halftime” documentary, “Hustle”, “Dr. Strange & the Multiverse of Madness”, and “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.”
I also took two LinkedIN courses for my own professional and personal development: “Project Management Skills for Leaders” and “The Most Important Content KPIs for Creators.”And I attended Chicago Booth’s Diversity Equity Inclusion webinar with Nova Reid. I found it so provocative that I bought her book to continue my lifelong pursuit of knowledge and understanding.
In other news, I voted in the Illinois primary, hit 6332 level on Candy Crush, and went on a couple long walks with Bill. I only worked out with Josh six times due to traveling and another COVID isolation. I did achieve my 10K steps on 24/30 days. And a crazy heat wave forced me to replace the air conditioning in the PT Cruiser – poor girl was melting!
Plus, I’m continuing to adhere to my new practice adoption based on James Cleary’s Atomic Habits. My morning ritual is to first read for 30 minutes to an hour. In June, I read 5 books.
I finished Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. Although the seventeen books are murder mysteries, they are so much more than that. They are about people struggling with relationships, careers and their life purpose. I’ve been living virtually in the small village of Three Pines, just outside of Montreal, for months. And I’m going to really miss catching up with my neighbors until Penny’s new book debuts in November 2022.
- Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny. (Penny’s fourteenth) Gamache is a mystery executor on a woman’s will. As he tries to figure out the inheritance plan, he is also trying to locate and contain a new drug on the streets.
- A Better Man by Louise Penny. (Penny’s fifteenth ) A young woman is missing. After discovering multiple domestic violence incidents, Gamache and his team are working against time to save her.
- All the Devils are Here By Louise Penny. (Penny’s sixteenth) Set in Paris, the entire Gamache clan gathers together to celebrate family. When their ‘adopted’ godfather/grandpa is a victim of a hit and run, they all come together to figure out his past to solve the mystery in the present.
- The Madness of Crowds By Louise Penny. (Penny’s seventeenth) Penny’s most current offering is a post-pandemic gut puncher. A statistician instigates a movement for economic recovery that eliminates humans by lethal injection.
*Finding Me by Viola Davis. I finished listening to Davis tell her story. I admire her achievements to date because she overcame extensive poverty and adversity. I also am in awe of her ability to forgive and love. She forgave her parents, in particular her father, for her neglect and abuse as a child. Viola Davis chose love and kindness. She is amazing! And I loved the passage about how George Clooney let her stay at his villa in Italy for her honeymoon. He’s sounds pretty cool too!
*The Good Ally by Nova Reid. The webinar was so provocative and inspirational, I bought her book. I’m only a quarter way in yet I already have embraced some profound notions. For one, Reid challenged me to see myself as ‘growing up racist’ and not ‘growing up with white privilege.’ When I describe myself as ‘growing up with white privilege’, I’m taking a superior stance to black people and not taking responsibility for my actions. When I own I ‘grew up racist’, I’m recognizing I have work to do on my own biases and prejudices. Powerful stuff!
The end of June also marks the 2022 midpoint. I’ve spent time this weekend reflecting on my annual goals. On some objectives, I’m exceeding or on target. On others, I’m lagging. I need to recommit or adjust the goal based on new circumstances. The nice thing about me to me is I’m always encouraging myself to be a better version of myself yet I recognize I’m not perfect. My life is not perfect. And luckily for me, I’m not looking for perfection. I’m on the journey to learn, laugh, love and leave the world in better shape than I found it. Every day is another opportunity for all four of those objectives to happen.
ENJOY your holiday, your fireworks, and your loved ones! Tomorrow, like those founding mothers in 1776, let’s get to work helping this country be a better version of itself.
Happy Independence Day!