As an older guy, I have to swallow the obvious fact that I rely on many people—that I can’t do what used to come so easily. (I don’t climb ladders or do heavy-lifting any more.) I accept that part of being old and dependent.
I’m also finding that I’m in need of other people for more basic elements of my well-being: I need more help in reading social situations accurately. I don’t always hear the under-text when others explain themselves. Left unassisted, I am flummoxed by some technologies. Other people give me the benefit of the doubt in discussions when my point-of-view is actually not helpful. If it wasn’t for friends, I’d revert to hermit-like behaviors and attitudes. People pay attention to me more than I deserve.
Sometimes it’s really hard to admit that I’m reliant on others. I might not ask for help—and then play the fool when I mess up. I try to be humble about my emerging neediness, but what’s actually going on inside me is escalating despair about losing independence and self-reliance. So I can get churlish—and then have to hide that attitude because it only makes matters worse.
What’s really happening? Maybe I’m peeved that I’ve come to that point in life where self-idolatry just doesn’t work anymore. If I try to worship the Years Ago Me, I’m a chump stuck in the past. If I pay homage to the current Demi-God Bob, I fall off that pedestal pretty quickly, while hordes of bemused onlookers quietly shake their heads at my self-delusion.
What keeps me grounded as I grouse about being dependent? Being able to accept the watchful concern of others who gracefully complete what’s missing in me, and who show me that I’m still beloved by them.
THAT I can swallow….