Julia Independence

Get ready for my top 5 awesome things about independence and my top 5 not so awesome things about independence.  Drum roll please…

Awesome:  By being independent, I get to live the life that I choose.  Independence is about making choices for yourself.  Notice I did not say BY yourself.  Making my own choices about what to wear, what to eat, and what music I feel in the mood for is so gratifying!  Who else, other than me, could make, or should make, these choices for me???  No one!  They are my choices to make and mine only.

Not So Awesome:  I have to make choices.  Yep, you read that correctly.  Sometimes the thing that is a positive can also be a pain.  Some days, I wish I was 12 again so other people could make choices for me.  Making choices is stressful!  While I get all the credit for making good choices, I also have to take responsibility for my bad choices. 

Awesome:  People tend to take you more seriously if you are independent.  They see you as mature and responsible.

Not So Awesome:  Being independent means you need help.  I have always said, and will continue to say, that a big part of independence is accepting help from others.  There is no way under the blue sky that I could be independent without the daily help of others.  We all know that giving help makes us feel good, but sometimes it is so darn hard to ask for help!

Awesome:  Being independent means you can prove the na-sayers wrong.  There is a societal perception that people with disabilities cannot be independent.  I have to say, one of my favorite things to do is prove those people wrong!  By me having a job, living in my own home, going out socially, dating and so on, I am telling everyone that people with disabilities can be just as independent as everyone else.

Not So Awesome:  Sometimes, we can take independence too far.  There are times when I get into the mindset that independence means doing things on my own.  The problem with this is that, if this is done too much, you push people away.  For example, one year, I was able to meet my favorite band ever.  When I met the first guy, he asked me if I needed help meeting the rest of the band.  What did I say??  “No, I am ok.”  What the heck was I thinking?!  I can tell you what I was thinking, “I am independent; I do not need no stinking help.”  Every time I think back to that time, I slap myself on the forehead for being so stubborn.

Awesome:  Being independent means I can choose the type of person I want to be instead of others telling me how I should be.  We all have instances in which we have to act a certain way because of the situation we are in.  For example, if I am going to a meeting, I am most likely going to dress up a bit and not wear jeans and flip flops.  If I am in the library, I am going to use my inside voice and not the voice I would use at a sporting event.  We all have to follow rules and that is okay.  But, when it comes down to it, I can choose what type of person I am.  I can choose to be nice or mean, honest or a liar, generous or selfish, and the list could go on and on.  Don’t forget, you have to deal with the consequences of your actions and decisions.

Not So Awesome:  Being independent means that people expect more from you.  They expect that you will be responsible.  While it is always great to have others have high expectations of you, sometimes it would be great to not have any at all.  Being responsible is hard sometimes.  There are days I want to spend money I do not have, eat ice cream for dinner every night, sleep in every day, and party on a week night.  The problem is that, if I want people to take me seriously, I better eat ice cream only once a week for dinner and leave the partying to the weekends.