Growing up in a home where we were told when we could eat, we as children did not learn to be independent. We didn’t feel hunger, because we ate when we were told to do so – not because our bellies wanted us to. We were physically independent – learning to drive and getting ourselves to class or work – but our minds were reliant on our parents. They liked it that way, probably because it made us more likely to obey.
I have never lived on my own.
At twenty-one, I was institutionalized. At twenty-two I was married.
I didn’t learn the mindset of an independent person. My husband went to work and did all of the driving, and I stayed at home and kept house. Nearly three years passed, and despite worry about what would happen to me if my husband were to fall ill, I still haven’t learned to be independent.
That has to change.
My best friend quoted one of her own friends to me as having said, “I would rather die than live with this anxiety”. As I mentioned this in a previous post (see here) I won’t go into details; however, I understand what she means. Anxiety has controlled my life these past years, gaining more and more control.
I need control of my life back. I need to learn independence that I was never taught. So I made a list of goals for where I want to be in one year. Of course the list could (and likely will) undergo revisions, but here it is as it stands today:
3 MONTH GOALS:
- Write at least 15 minutes per day
- Write/publish at least 1 post per week
6 MONTH GOALS:
- Drive at least 1x every week
- Be able to drive alone at least 1x before end of six months
- Walk at least 1x per week alone
- Write at least 30 minutes per day
1 YEAR GOALS:
- Make at least 1 in-store purchase alone per month
- Join and attend a Life Group at least 2x per month
- Walk at least 3x per week
- Finish Associate’s Degree by end of year
WORK ON (In General):
- Saying “NO”
- Improving self-esteem
- Discovering “dreams” (what I want to do with my life)
All of these goals are aimed at helping me become an independent person. Of course I have other goals, but they are unrelated at this time. As you can see, I tried to make each goal measurable, as well as slowly increasing my expectations of myself as time passes. While I could push myself to move faster, I have learned from experience I’m more likely to simply shut-down and do nothing if I move too quickly – so I’m trying to keep my expectations reasonable.
If there is something you feel is absolutely necessary to be an independent person, what is it? Is there something beneficial that you feel would make you more independent than you are now?