My Mom-in-law is eighty nine years old. She does all her own banking: she can tell you down to the cent what she has spent over the last week, month, or even year. She buys her own groceries, pays her bills, and on her own, decided to give up driving without us having to influence her in any way. There’s so much more this remarkable woman does at her age, but she’d be embarrassed if I went on.
Watching and relating to her has been an absolute lesson in life, especially in the whole area of dependency. And here I don’t mean things like smoking and alcohol etc., but relational kinds of dependency – just being too dependent on one another. It tends to start out small, often in an unconscious way, and then evolves in to a crippling habit. Relationships that foster dependency can become deeply debilitating and threatening.
I’ve found that a good inventory to make every now and again, is one where we take time to examine very carefully where we’re starting to become just a little too dependent on those around us, especially those closest to us. A real and honest appraisal of ourselves can reveal some surprising things, even though we may not want to see them at times.
These little examinations, I think, do two things. First, they help us to become aware of these dependencies, and second, having become aware of them, they enable us to put in place constructive ways of weaning ourselves off them, which by the way, is not only healthy for us, but also for those we’ve become too dependent on.
My Mom-in-law has done this for most of her life and has reaped the rewards of mature living right in to old age itself.