Hey, how are ya?
For many people, the month of January represents clean slates, new beginnings, and reinvention. I feel like I have met the needs of all three this week. I started a master’s program at a graduate school in the heart of Boston. Taking classes in a busy city is certainly new to me, and brings fresh change to my life. I am trying to soak it all in, including the little things, like getting coffee from a barista to commuting an hour just to get to class. These little things remind me that life is all about new beginnings.
Between starting graduate classes at a new school, having to navigate the T, and scooting around Boston by myself, I am beginning to feel like a ”true adult.” My version of becoming an adult may not be as drastic as some others’, but for me, it’s big enough. This week I made one big adjustment to my lifestyle that is the epitome of entering “The Discomfort Zone:” asking for help.
For the last several years, there wasn’t a door I wouldn’t try to swing open with one arm, or a pile of books I wouldn’t insist on carrying myself. Yet, heading to Boston this week, I felt the weight of Friedreich’s Ataxia. My body was exhausted, and I hadn’t even gotten to class yet. Prior to class, I scooted to the nearest Starbucks to fuel myself in advance of a three-hour night class. As I balanced my coffee and turned toward the door to leave, I noticed something strange about my surroundings.
I was the only customer in Starbucks. What are the odds? The entire store, empty? It is safe to say I have never been in a Starbucks at any time of day when there isn’t a line of people. With no one around, I turned to the barista behind the counter and seized an opportunity.
“Umm, excuse me,” I said, pivoting my scooter toward the barista who had just handed me a coffee. “Would you mind getting the door for me?”
It was like he was waiting for my request, or at least anticipating it. As soon as I spit the question out, he was in motion towards the door. He opened and held the door with a genuine smile on his face. And there it was. I stopped being too big to ask for help. The simple thing that I had been struggling to do for a long time. Admitting I needed help and understanding that strangers are not dangers, I saw how asking for help made my life easier.
It’s hard to not want to be a tough-guy, but maybe that is just part of growing up. It’s one of the many effects of changing my routine and life. Asking for help will make me more independent in the long run. But no matter how much I welcome change, that independence is one thing I am not about to say goodbye to. I just need to keep tweaking the “normal” version to fit my own.
It’s Okay To Ask For Help