For me, an IRS audit is less terrifying than asking someone to lend me a hand. Especially if it is for something personal, or for something I’ve always done for myself, but age and good sense are suggesting I not do it anymore.
For instance, changing a ceiling light bulb. Now really, I’ve changed light bulbs for 60 years, so why suddenly should I not do that? It just requires dragging the ladder in from the garage, climbing a couple of steps up said ladder while balancing the new bulb in one hand and clinging desperately to anything nearby. Then anchoring myself with a hand firmly on the ceiling, unscrewing the old light, throwing it in a nearby chair, hoping one of the doglets doesn’t decide to chew on it before I can get the new bulb screwed in and maneuver back down the ladder,
Why shouldn’t I do that for myself? If you are asking yourself that question, then you are probably not a Baby Boomer. Those of us who have screwed in hundreds of light bulbs in the past 60+ years know the answer to that question.
The first problem is remembering where the ladder is. Is it in the garage, the shed, in a closet? It must be here somewhere.
The second problem is disengaging the ladder from its hiding place behind the unused weed eater, the unused grill, the 4 broken printers, the unused dog carrier, the unused and unwebbed lawn chairs, and of course, the boxes holding the grown child’s first grade school papers that you know s/he will want someday.
Now comes the hard part…carrying the ladder from point A to point B. Not a big deal, you say? Again, obviously you are under the age of 60. That task is not only hard, but it is terribly time-consuming. Dragging large objects around takes time, and my back isn’t what it used to be.
But, hey, I am embarrassed to call someone and ask them to change a lightbulb. My friends are my age or older and they call me to come change a lightbulb at their house.
Obviously I need younger friends.
So why do we hate to ask for help?
What keeps us from raising our hand in need?
Maybe it’s fear of losing control. Will I be seen as vulnerable?
Maybe it’s fear of rejection. Will I be turned down?
Maybe it’s fear of dependency. I can do it myself.
Whatever the fear, showing weakness or needing help is near impossible for many of us. ‘Many of us’ is translated to mean me.
Maybe no one else finds it a mountain to climb to simply say ‘help’. But, I’d rather beat my doglets for the first bite of that light bulb than admit I shouldn’t climb a ladder to change it. I don’t feel old or feeble, but the consequences if I fall seem to be greater at 74 than they did at 44.