Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is it possible to be independent?

For years I prided myself on being independent. I got my MBA on a scholarship, I got one good corporate job after another, and I was able to support myself in a lifestyle which would be considered luxurious by most standards. But back in 2001, when the internet crashed and I couldn't get a job to save my life, much of my arrogance around being independent fell away. All of a sudden I was very dependent, on my mother who would send me money, my sister who lent me money that I haven't paid back fully, friends who let me stay at their place...The arrogance of being independent was transformed into gratitude for all the support I was receiving.

Later on, when I started earning a very good income again, I knew better than to think I was independent just because I had money. Was I raising my own food? No, coming from New York I haven't a clue on how to garden and hate seeing worms. Ugh! Was I making my own clothes? Are you kidding? I don't know how to sew a button. How the hell do you get thread through a tiny needle hole?? Did I build the house I was living in? Yeah, right. One hour of doing construction work and I would be passed out for days from exhaustion. Did I know anything about plumbing, besides turning on the faucet? Nope. How about electricity? Half the time I have to call my landlord to change my light bulbs. Let's face it. If civilization as we know it ended today, I would be in deep doo doo.

So the idea of independence is laughable. We are all interconnected. And as the old structures seem to be falling apart, it is time to acknowledge our interdependence and start creating communities that can support each other--not just physically but also emotionally. Today, as I struggle once again with money issues, I am much happier than I was back in 2001 because I have a strong sense of community, and I know that I am not alone

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