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“I get by with a little help from my friends…”

The Beatles

The other day, my daughter, Riva, was sitting on the couch and watching a TV show with me. She turned with a sigh and said, “I better go boil some eggs for tomorrow’s lunch. Would you help me remember to make an egg salad sandwich to bring with me to work?”

“If you forget it, I can always bring it to you,” I told her. The small boutique where she works is not a very long drive from our house.

She winced. “I don’t want you to think that I’m not … ‘adulting’ well.”

I shrugged and said, “Hey, I call my mom from time to time to help me out, when I’m alone in the store, and I’m more than fifty years old.”

But what I didn’t say, but thought of the next day, was that adulting IS hard. It’s difficult for everyone, no matter if you’re 20 years old, like Riva, or 54, like I am.

That’s why we create our own tribes, friends who become our own families, friends whom we could couch surf with when we are young, after college and between jobs. A friend you could call and say, “I am at work and I’m crashing. I need caffeine, stat! Would you bring me my usual, three pump hazelnut, three pump vanilla latte, Grande, please, pretty please, Reverie!” (not that I’m thinking of any specific situation), and she would bring you this drink (thank you, again, Reverie), and then refuse to take money for it. Or you text your friend Hope, because you’re all alone in the store, and you’re bored out of your gourd, and she (on her day off) brings a tall skinny margarita for you and has one for herself, in large travel “coffee containers,” and splits a bag of potato chips, and then stays to shoot the shit for a couple of hours.

Like my daughter, I am left alone to run a small store for the owner, and can’t just leave.

Or when my husband, Jeff, made a whole mess of fried catfish and brought it to my work. That was the best lunch ever, and that’s saying a lot, since I work next to a bakery, which, in turn is also next to a Greek/Mexican restaurant.

Or call my own mom, when I forgot my own lunch, or when I couldn’t find any toilet paper in the store’s bathroom. My mom is retired, and she lives only five minutes away (luckily?), and so she brought me toilet paper.

That’s what I was thinking of saying to my daughter that next day. Being a grown up is difficult. You have to pay your taxes (or you have to pay your lawyers), you get bunions on your toes, and sometimes you get hurt just taking a nap … and to paraphrase The Princess Bride, anyone telling you different is trying to sell you something. But we are not here alone in this adulting gig. So, make your own family, make your tribe, and be kind to the family you have. You never know when your kindness will boomerang back to you.

And be a little easier on yourself. It’s really OK to ask for help once in a while. Because there may come a time when you will have to give a hand to someone else.

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