Standing in my bedroom in 1974, my mother schooled me once again with her steps for finding the perfect job. Having heard it all before, I wanted to scream. At twenty-two years old, I was now a college graduate and, in my snarky opinion, no longer needed her advice.
But, as I pounded the streets of San Franciscoâ€™s financial district in my long, homemade jean skirt covered in embroidered flowers and a peasant blouse that slid down my right shoulder, I began to wonder if perhaps her words werenâ€™t true. High-end law firms and such had an image to protectâ€”and looking like a bygone hippie didnâ€™t fit the bill.
I figured out the job thing, and several years later, I became a new mother. Seeing Mom hovering in the wings with more suggestions made my eyes roll once again. Between my innate love for children and having babysat all my life, I was sure raising an infant would be a no-brainer. I didnâ€™t need advice from any person or book, thank you very much.
Then reality hit.
â€œJackie,â€ Mom began. â€œBabies cry for one of three reasons: a dirty diaper, hunger, or fatigue. Rule each one out, and I bet sheâ€™ll stop crying.â€ Sure enough, when I became more diligent with changing her soggy pants, calm reigned supreme.
From the time I was born in 1952, I was groomed by my parents to be fiercely independent, a role I took seriously. Being the only girl amid three brothers, it was crucial to not only stand up for myself but take care of my needs too. No one else was going to do it for me. Sixty-six years later, this burning desire to be completely self-sufficient has led me to create many unnecessary mistakes along the way, as well as waste precious time. No more!
Each December 31st, I sit and reflect on what area of my life needs tweaking for personal growth. There was my â€œyear of no fear,â€ where I said yes to everything that presented itself, even if out of my comfort zone. While Iâ€™m good at taking care of myself, when others require attention, any desires I might have sit on the back burner, so there was the â€œyear of putting me first.â€ In the â€œyear of detachment,â€ I released all that was holding me back, physically and emotionally. 2019, Iâ€™ve decided, will be my â€œyear of asking for help.â€
Long ago, I had this distorted view that wanting support was a sign of weakness. I longed to appear invincible, especially to my kids. After all, I was Super Mom. I had a persona to live up to. As Iâ€™ve slowly begun to let down my guard and reach out, I find myself wondering if the giver doesnâ€™t benefit too. When Iâ€™m of service, Iâ€™m left with a lovely feeling of social cooperation and as each smile of appreciation for my help appears, I gain trust in my ability to continue to share information. But mostly, thereâ€™s a feeling of happiness because I connect to another human soul. I now see that by stubbornly not reaching out, Iâ€™ve been denying loving friends the opportunity to do their own meaningful work.
I donâ€™t believe we were ever intended to walk this earth alone and instead need to grab each otherâ€™s hands as we travel the rocky ups and downs of life. Going forward, should someone be so kind to accept the challenge and rescue me from my silly self, I plan to immediately interlace my fingers with theirs, accepting their help and promising that Iâ€™ll be there for them too. With this new spirit of cooperation, I think this will be my best resolution yet!
What is your New Years Resolution?