Independence is always relative to circumstance, conditioned by prior choice, properly expressed with an eye to the totality of one's largest life commitments. For instance, consider the way I spent my July 4 holiday.
Left to my own devices, in an alternate universe of personal solitude, I'd have expressed my independence on our rainy Nashville Independence Day by spending my time the way I do most summer days when others have no claim to stake on my time and attention: wake, drink coffee and write, walk, eat, read, swim, write, eat, bike, read etc., most of it outdoors, much of it in hammocks and in the company of dogs, too much of it online. The gas grill would at some point have been deployed. Late in the day I'd have tagged someone to accompany me to dinner and a ballgame, were the Sounds in town. Then there would have been ballpark fireworks. I'd have called that a good day.
But by dint of circumstance and prior choice and existential commitment, my holidays are family days. The family had plans.
We joined huddled masses of thousands of strangers at Opry Mills, the local version of Mall of America reclaimed from the big flood of 2010. We ate lunch in a demoralizing food court (Panda Express, without an express lane) full of the rotund slow folk my old friend at the defunct bookstore called Waddlers. We ambled precariously through the maze of heavy foot traffic of heavy people. We shopped, for shoes and dresses and dorm furnishings. We saw Despicable Me. The rain finally abated, for just a bit. We drove downtown and parked for $20. We watched the riverfront rockets' red glare. We gloried in our freedom. "Look at y'all! Where'd y'all come from?!"
And it was a very good day.