I like being independent. There is a sense of accomplishment and pride that I get when I complete a task on my own without the need for assistance by others. As a homeowner and single mom, there certainly are plenty of opportunities to flex these muscles. But there are also countless tasks that feel just a little bit over my head, or beyond my physical ability to complete without asking for help. Each season, there is some task that requires the assistance of outside help. Often at a cost, there are reminders throughout the year that I just can’t do it all; autumn means giant piles of leaves that need to be carted away to the dump, winter means having my driveway plowed or risk injuring my back, spring means clean-up, mulch and gutter cleaning, and summer is the time when I have to find someone to install the window air conditioning units. This one is particularly tricky since it not exactly something that I can “hire” someone for – unlike the other tasks which are usually resolved with a check to a landscaper.
Back a few weeks ago, when my basement flooded and I had a dumpster in my driveway for the clean-up effort I took advantage of the opportunity and had two of the oldest and heaviest ac units disposed of, which of course left me needing to buy two more. Yesterday, my son and I, motivated by the 90 degree temperatures, bought two units to replace them, and for the first time ever, we installed them on our own. It was great! I may still have two older models to go in – but I have decided both of my sons and I can attempt to tackle them together this year. It’s very exciting stuff, at least for me it is, and yes, I do realize that accomplishing this task with the assistance of my son/s does not mean total independence, but it’ close enough in my book. So this season, we can actually get the units in and out of the windows when we need them without having to wait for weeks to have a friend do it for us. Woo hoo, I say!
And as good as it feels to take care of things on my own, I am also aware that in many ways sometimes the best way you can take care of yourself, is to ask for the assistance of others. Sure I suppose we can create a world of complete independence (figuratively speaking of course, given that total self-reliance in modern society would also require total hermetic isolation) but why would you want to? The sense of accomplishment you get when you do something on your own is a wonderful thing, but we are for the most part inter-dependent creatures that grow and evolve in connection with those around us. That connection does not have to mean dependence, but occasionally asking for help is necessary and even is beneficial. It is my belief that it takes a great amount of strength to ask for help and to realize that we each have our skills and abilities. Bringing others into our lives whose strengths complement our own is a beautiful and intelligent thing.
I think that to live a life at our fullest potential involves both our independence and our reliance on others, knowing when you need help and when you don’t is the key. Flexing those independence muscles is a good thing, and allowing yourself to depend on others is as well. It’s standing at the poles that cause the system to wobble, but finding the balance that works for you, is the key to a smooth ride.