If you had asked me that 2 years ago, I’d have tearfully rambled through a mental list of thing I thought I couldn’t do. The list included things like pay the bills, change cell phone plans and hire a plumber.
They are all things I had never done before because my husband had.
I didn’t have a husband anymore, so I felt certain I was incapable of accomplishing many things alone. I had offers of help from family and friends – but what it came down to was that I felt like only HE could do those things. HE knew this house, HE knew who to call, HE knew what I was capable of and HE was gone…
For some time I felt like I was sitting on a deserted island of helplessness while the world continued on without me.
Then Marilyn asked me what, EXACTLY, I could not do by myself.
I spouted off things like “do my taxes”, “edge the driveway”, “install a new backup drive on the computer!” I mean, these were all things that I had never done before and sounded complicated and scary and exactly like the things I could not do alone.
But for every thing I said I could not do by myself, she had an answer: “call someone to do it for you”, “ask your brother to help you lift it”, “read the directions that come along with it”, “google it.”
She was not going to let me to do this to myself. She would not allow me to legitimize my own fear.* Marilyn pointed out that my new reality was an opportunity to learn new things and accomplish different goals while setting a good example for my children. She was brilliant. I stopped crying.
That entire first year after the divorce, I was unstoppable.
- Called an electrician to bring my old house up to code
- Got a lawn mower and learned how to do the yard work
- Put up the exterior Christmas lights – exactly how I wanted
- Did my own taxes
- Bought (and installed) a new computer and printer
- And lots of other cool things
I’m actually pretty handy.
Now, when people ask what I can’t do, I say “nothing.”
* Sure, my family had said the exact same things, but these are the type of wisdom nuggets you have to pay a therapist to say before you believe them.