I have always wanted to be independent. I longed to be the girl that could thrive all on her own. Needing no one, happy and capable alone. This ideal isn't supposed to sound lonely or sad... it has just always been my desire to cut loose the ties and stand on my own. To feel truly independent. I was never sure when I would get there, what it would feel like or how I would know.
Just over a month ago I moved to Chicago. I went with a hope that this adventure in the big city would make me feel truly independent. That walking down the busy streets and taking public transportation and living in an apartment under my own name would confirm to me that yes indeed, I, was truly an independent woman. Well, there have been a few times that the city life seemed to convince me of my independence... but until a few days ago... I was really never sure.
A few days ago I found myself alone, on a train, feeling terribly nauseous. I seemed to have picked up some sort of flu or food poisoning over the weekend in the suburbs, and it started to hit on my trip back to the city. I remember sitting on the train holding my bags and trying to figure out where the most appropriate place to vomit would be if that should become necessary.
Finally, I made it back to my apartment. The rest of the night was spent lying on the bathroom floor... alone. This is when I realized what it means to be on my own. Goodbye ideals and hello reality. As the hours slowly crept by and I did my best to take care of myself, I remembered the days of being sick at home. The days when my mom would hold my hair and rub my back and try to make everything seem okay. The days when my sister would play nurse and I would drink tea and eat homemade soup. The days when being sick meant just lying still and being completely dependent on those around you. Then, I wondered why that was something I was so eager to get away from. Why did I want to try and live all on my own?
I called my mom that night around 3:00am. She was hours away and there was nothing she could do... but in that moment, I just needed to know someone was there. In that moment, the last thing I wanted was independence. I wanted someone to take care of me, to whisper softly and hold me close.
As I recovered over the next couple of days, making my own soup and disinfecting my own bathroom, I started to reevaluate my desire to live independently. I began to realize the deep need that I have for people in my life. I thought about how unnatural it is to rely only on myself. I found my perspectives shifting. In my low days of being sick, I was finally aware of how silly it is to want to be on my own. I also realized that it isn't just when I'm physically sick that it is better to have others to lean on. Life isn't meant to be lived alone. Though I may be capable of getting around by myself or taking care of myself or being completely on my own... why should I want that? Why not surround myself with people who will be there when I'm dragging, run with me when I'm energized and make memories with me along the way? No longer will I pride myself in my independence. Instead, I will be thankful for those who enrich my life... hold me up... take my hand... show me the way... and help me live life as it was intended to be lived. Together.