Day 94: Not Solo Enterprises

by ashleighpenrod

There is an interesting American cultural phenomenon that makes each of us believe we should be entirely self-sustainable—our own support systems on our own islands.

I think that’s bunk.

In semi-tandem with Day 3: Seven Types, this post covers the things each of us can expect to source from our fellow human beings.

But first, there are some things we probably shouldn’t expect to get from others. On very deep and basic levels, we are each responsible for our own:

  • happiness
  • lifestyle
  • actions
  • money (how we get it and where it goes)
  • outlook (glass half-empty, glass half-full, glass with some water in it, etc.)

Beyond that (and possibly some things I missed), we need each other.

Whether from a philosophical or scientific perspective, human beings are not built as solo enterprises. Even on a microscopic level, we depend on a series of symbiotic relationships in order to survive (bacteria keep our systems flowing and we give bacteria warm and perfect homes). On a macro level, we have necessary relationships with other human beings.

But we can’t fulfill all of our needs with one person—best friend, partner or otherwise. That’s where a community system comes in handy. Between some kind of mix of parents, mentors, siblings, partners, friends, co-workers, kids, neighbors and awesome strangers, we can depend on each other for:

  • affirmation
  • humor
  • gut checks (also known as “that’s a bad idea” checks)
  • energy
  • ideas
  • touch (a hug is more important than its humble nomenclature suggests)
  • a hard push in one direction or another
  • fun
  • emotional support (for the horrible stuff and the great stuff)
  • intimacy
  • copyediting
  • advice
  • empathy
  • perspective
  • [insert a skill you don’t have here]
  • and a host of other really cool and important things

In short, we need each other.