We depend entirely on other men; on those who live with us and above all on those who have preceded us. Society is composed of the dead as well as the living. Robinson Crusoe would not have survived without the help of the tools and the weapons he found. Even in his solitude, he benefited from the efforts of other men. ~ Alexis Carrel
Part of American mythology is the image of the “rugged individual” carving out a life for himself and his family in the wild west/woods/desert. But I think that myth has morphed into a weapon that we use against ourselves. We think we should be able to do “it” all by ourselves. And the thinking goes that if we can’t do “it” by ourselves, then there is something wrong with us…that we are “flawed” in some way or another. And so we don’t ask for help because then everyone else will know that we are “flawed” and yadda, yadda, yadda.
The truth of the matter is that most people lived with their extended families or near their extended families until the Industrial Revolution disrupted the agrarian way of life. And even then, people didn’t really start moving about the country, en masse, until after World War II. I remember my grandmother staying with us for a few days to help out–even though she lived only 20 minutes away–after my mother and youngest sister came home from the hospital because that’s just what was done in those days.
I am having to learn how to balance my job at the university with being a homemaker. I don’t get to go to the grocery store in the middle of the morning on a weekday when it isn’t as crowded anymore nor can I get away to go to the credit union. When things weren’t getting organized after our move, I started to lecture myself about it and saying that I needed to buckle down and get my box organized. But then I realized I was falling for the “I should be able to do it all myself” myth and so The Mister and I sat down together to determine who would be able to do what in order to maintain a peaceful home.
I can’t do it all. And it is crazy to think that I can!