I value independence. I am constantly preaching the ability to live on your own to young people. I think it is imperative before you live with someone else that you figure out yourself and how to do everything on your own. It makes you that much more appreciative to have someone there helping you with it later on.

As children, we are co-dependent on our parents. Then, hopefully we all grow into independent adults. But I never valued the final and best step before marriage: interdependence. You can always achieve more when you have other people contributing. That person who wants to do it all themself will never be able to do it all. So interdependence is the final step – you can do it on your own, but you choose to do more with others. This is marriage. I could raise Brandon on my own, maybe. But I can do it better with Steve.

Sometimes, in my moments of failure, when I am fed up with dealing with personalities other than my own, I think about doing it on my own again. I think about eking out a living without help. After becoming interdependent, sometimes I miss my independence. These are stupid moments. Yesterday, I left work early and took Brandon to the zoo. We stopped and grabbed some food to eat first. Sure, I did it on my own. I can. But it is much easier with Steve by my side.

As I drove down I-80 toward the zoo, I thought about what an ass I am for ever thinking that I would be better off alone. I wouldn’t be. It’s a shame that I ever for a second thought that I could be a better person without the people who love me the most. The people I surround myself with are the reason I am who I am. My parents raised me with my values and morals. My siblings taught me how to treat others. My husband taught me about love and commitment. My son has taught my responsibility and selflessness.

Without them, I could probably be independent. But that is not the highest form my life could have taken. I could have eked by, sure. I could have lived in a “survival of the fittest” mindset. But there were better things in store for me.

This week at work, I reached my tipping point. I have been stressed and stretched and my cup ran over. I didn’t know how much more I could take. I thought about quitting. About taking the low road (the “flight” in the “fight or flight” options). But then, I realized I’m not doing this alone. I have the best co-workers I have ever had that are here for me. They poured out their support and appreciation for me rather than becoming aghast at my meltdown.

When I stopped thinking only of myself and thought about the big picture, I realized I am not in this alone. It is not me against the world. It is me and the people that surround me helping each other. That is much easier than eking by. I’m done feeling sorry for myself. Woe is not me. I am who I am because of everyone who loves me. And I love you all for it.

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