Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Today is that very day, the day when people take off work, drink alcohol out of doors, cook meat in places other than their kitchen, and watch explosive devices fly through the air.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I hate those things, because I enjoy a hamburger as much as the next person who eats meat. But what I don’t like about 4th of July is that it’s a whole lot like New Year’s: You kind of have to have plans or you feel like a huge loser, and the weeks leading up to it are bereft with the panicked opening of email, wondering whether or not you’ll get invited to the sacred cooking of ground up cow by one of your friends who is lucky enough to have a patio.

I’ve realized this in years past, when I’ve failed to make plans until a week or even a few days before the 4th, usually because most of my friends aren’t exactly known for throwing ragers (nor am I) and because I don’t really plan that far ahead when it comes to parties, and also because I’m never sure how much I care about doing something on the 4th until it’s really close to the date, at which point I realize that I’ll sit at home and hate myself if I don’t make plans.

So yeah, I’ve realized that I want to have plans in the past, but this year it really sunk in; I’m not living anyplace where I can invite people over, a number of my good friends have babies so they may or may not be celebrating (you don’t have to worry about doing anything cool if you have a new baby because having a new baby is a cool thing in and of itself), and in L.A., you can practically taste everyone else having fun at the beach on holidays if you’re not there, so it’s not like I could sit at home and pretend like nothing is going on.

So as of last weekend, when I had nothing planned, I began to get a little panicky. Granted, I’m kind of weepy these days, but there’s something particularly sad about knowing that the whole rest of the world is partying — and not just any kind of partying, partying that they took the day off of work to do — and you’re sitting home alone watching reruns of “Real Housewives.”

And all this got me thinking that in some ways, the fourth of July is worse than New Year’s in terms of whether or not you have anything to do, because the fourth of July is usually really fun. New Year’s, at this point, is notorious for being a letdown. Don’t have plans on December 31? Whatever. It’s all hype anyway.

But don’t have plans on July 4th? You’re probably missing out on a good time.

The good news here is that by last weekend, I sacked up and decided to create some plans myself. I took the initiative and got on the phone and figured out some things to do with some friends. I guess that makes me a grown-up who takes charge of her own destiny. All of a sudden there’s a lesson in this story and I didn’t even intend for there to be one. So there you go: Hate 4th of July cause you don’t have plans? Make some.