Since I was a kid, I yearned for total and complete independence from my parents. When I got my first job and lived on my own, it was glorious! I bought a bike, went on trips, and enjoyed my freedom. But over the years, my approach to life has left me wanting more: a companion to share my adventures and someone to listen to my meaningless thoughts. I thought I should find that in a significant other, but really I can find those things in my friends and family. So I am learning to balance my independence with dependence on others.
First. I want to recognize that even though I am independent, the other people in this world have helped me achieve this. The farmers that grow our produce and the truckers that deliver it to the grocery store have given me easy access to food. The cotton growers and the garment workers all over the world work to provide clothes for me to buy and wear. My parents worked for so long to feed and clothe and support me in my life and education. This will help me stay grounded and less ego driven.
We visited the USS Arizona Memorial this past week and it serves as a profound reminder that my life is the way it is because of the sacrifices of people I will never know.
Franklin Roosevelt said it best, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. ”
Second. I want to build my relationships so that conversation flows freely and comfortably in both directions.
I’m quite naturally a listener. Talking or expressing thoughts and opinions especially about myself is difficult, so I’m working on my openness. Fear of what people will think or say about my opinions holds me back, but also I just don’t have the practice. Being quiet is my comfortable place. Unless someone asks me something, then I don’t feel the urge to share. But keeping in mind compassion has been helping. Keeping in mind that people want to know my thoughts, even though they don’t ask has been helping. Keeping in mind that everyone else feels the same fears has been helping.
In doing this, I hope to find deeper connections, more connections and better connections.
Wish me luck.