I’ve never thought of myself as an independent woman, except in the juvenile, rebellious, “I want to do what I want to do and I don’t want to do what YOU tell me to do” sort of way. I always thought I could be independent if I needed to, but who needs that when you have a comfortable dual income existence and a man at the ready to open the pickle jar?
I discovered the hard way that independence is a thing. It’s a thing you need especially when life doesn’t turn out the way you think it will.
And it’s a powerful thing.
The best way I know to describe that thing is the way I felt the day nobody was available to help me get this piece of furniture I found on sale from Home Depot to my second-floor condo’s back porch. After every avenue had been exhausted, I called my mom to sit with the kids and then marched over to Home Depot, rented the biggest pickup truck I’ve ever seen, and drove that sucker down South Beach Parkway to my home. Together, my mom and I carried the sofa up the stairs with my 15-month-old strapped to my chest. I took a break to nurse the baby, and then drove the truck back.
The glass of wine I sipped on the sofa that night was divine. I had earned every drop.
I don’t think I ever would have experienced the full feeling of independence if the rug hadn’t been ripped out from under me last fall. I never would have so clearly understood the importance of earning an income in addition to caring for my children. I wouldn’t have tasted the satisfaction of having my own financial goals that line up with my values. I wouldn’t have experienced the thrill of a good credit score, an auto loan in my name, and the possibility of owning my own house in the near future.
Just as importantly, I’m discovering the joy of standing on my own two feet. I have reason to expect that I can be happy as a single mother. I can take my kids to the beach by myself and have a good time. I can put the kids to bed and then enjoy my own time to write, read, and sleep. I can have meaningful relationships with or without a life partner.
Some days I’m still not so sure. But I have to believe that this is what’s in store for me as an independent woman.