Becoming well resourced
Today is the second day of a three-day stint without Peter around. He left to do some consulting in Chicago and it’s the first time that I’ve had two kids without a partner around to support the running of the household.
I thought this would mean getting extra work done after the kids were in bed, long talks with my sisters, and eating crackers and cheese for dinner like I did when I was single (making vegetables for Sabina of course 😉 .) But that’s actually not how it’s been, I’ve been running around, spending hours at the hospital, up most of the night, and feeling really behind on work. I have to give major props to all the single parents out there! Man, it isn’t easy to be the one and only.
I share this with you because I know that while we all have big dreams and a desire for balance, it can be hard to relate to “experts” that tell us to go to the gym every morning, meditate for a half and hour every night, eat five balanced meals, hustle, sleep when we’re dead, and “oh…there was that one study so I guess make sure you play every day” when we can’t even catch our breath between work deadlines, sick kids, and unexpected life curve balls.
That’s why before we start chasing dreams full time it’s important to be well resourced – it’s the set up for success and sanity. Even if you are don’t have kids or other family or work obligations and have lots of time to do this list of things to-do to be successful, you may want to consider creating a strong foundation before you exert all your life energy toward your goals.
I believe that beyond the basic human needs of food, shelter, clean air, water, and love there are three essential resources we need: support, health, and energy. And these resources build upon each other, so the base is support.
Without being well resourced in the area of support we can not maintain our health or balance our energy. We may be able to survive, sure. But at what cost?
I was raised by liberal feminist parents that wanted to make sure that I was confident in the fact that I did not need a man to support me. It was drilled into me that I needed no one and could succeed without any help. And though I am super grateful for the sentiment – I find it very difficult to thrive without assistance of others. Not just my husband, but my community.
As a culture we value individual independence in a way that has become unhealthy. I know so many people that struggle with asking for help and so instead they suffer alone. There is an underlying belief that we’ve been taught since school, or earlier, that we don’t ask our friends for the answer (that’s cheating), asking our neighbors to help us move a piece of furniture is an infringement (they’re probably busy), and god forbid we do favors for each other in a parent/child relationship (there’s a hierarchy here.)
But it feels good to help others – we should allow that experience for our own communities and ourselves. The woven structure of a bound community is so much stronger than any single thread. I hear people say that they don’t want to be indebted to others if they ask for their help, “it’s just not worth it.” But what if we considered it an ever flowing experience of life where we will give and help and receive and it doesn’t have to always be in equal parts with the same person. But instead we always had the intention of serving to our highest capacity the world around us (not just our own motivations and goals – but those of others as well.)
It is “worth it.” It is so worth it.
I feel really grateful to have great support besides my husband. For instance last night I was able to leave baby Sailor with my cousin and her husband while I took Sabina to the hospital for a gymnastics injury. Without this kind of help I would’ve lost my marshmallows for sure.
In order to become well resourced in support there are some things you can do:
• Be conscious around creating community. Host gatherings, reach out to neighbors, make time for a cup of coffee with a friend. The magic here is your attention, the more you put your time and effort into making these connections, the closer those ties become.
• Offer to help. Because so often people don’t know how to, or are afraid to, ask for help – we can help them out by offering to help paint their garage on Sunday, or help them brainstorm a book title, or watch their kids while they go for a run. We shape the world we live in by being the way we want the world to be.
• Say thank you. Peter and I are all about helping, but one thing that can turn the joy of helping into a sour situation is when you spend a bunch of your time and energy assisting someone and they don’t say thank you, or even respond at all. I’m honestly shocked at how often this happens.
I’m not saying we help in order to receive thank you’s, but it’s just the polite thing to do for goodness sake. And if you don’t express your appreciation, you may find that it’s harder to find people to call on when you need them.
I’m so grateful to be part of your community and support you so you can live a beautiful life. Thank you for being part of mine as well.