I read a blog post today titled “What Does Independence Mean to You?” by Chris Guillebeau – very apropos considering that yesterday we celebrated Independence Day here in the United States with the great tradition of bbq, beer, and blowing shit up. The blog post had the intended outcome, forcing me to think about independence; but more than that it made me ponder the many derivatives of that word: independent, dependent, depend, dependable…
At one point in my life being fully independent was one of my top priorities. I had my own apartment, my own car, my own money. I made the decisions and I dealt with the consequences. I thought that this was what ‘being an adult’ was all about. But as much as I strived to be independent, it was still futile. There were so many things out of my control. It was not possible to be completely independent, and why should I have wanted to be anyway? Doesn’t it seem a bit lonely.
I’ve learned through the years that it is good in life to be balanced and the issue of independence/dependence demands this balance as well. I can try all I want to be independent, but I need to face the fact that sometimes I am dependent too, especially now that I have begun this new adventure. I am now, more than ever, dependent.
I am dependent on family and friends to put up with my crazy ideas and random drop ins. I am dependent on the kindness of strangers and the generosity of communities. I am dependent on the politicians whom I elect and the ones that I don’t, to do what is best for me and this country as a whole. I am dependent on you, the reader, for feedback and comments. I am dependent on so many people and things and events that sometimes it is a bit overwhelming.
In order to be comfortable with being dependent on someone, I’ve learned that you also need to be dependable. You need to be there for others in the same ways that you need them to be there for you. It is a fine balance, the roles of independence, dependence, and dependability. You don’t want to rely on one too heavily or another not enough. You don’t want to become a user or someone who takes others for granted. You don’t want to become so selfless and dependable that you’re only doing things for others and never anything for yourself.
This great web of interdependence breeds connectivity, trust, and loyalty. It is how we should be relating to one another – depending on others as much as ourselves and helping others as much as ourselves. The simple truth is that we need each other. Let me say that again, we need each other. It’s just too hard to do it all alone.
What do you say we end this post where we began… What does independence mean to you?
Thanks for reading!