On January 26th, I wrote: “There’s this damaging concept that everyone will have to die alone, therefore it is best if we learn to live independently, proudly, without accepting help, support and love even when we need it most. Independence and pride above all. Screw everything else.”

Many people unthinkingly mistake the ability (and courage) to accept love and a helping hand as not being self-sufficient. But life is not meant to be lived joylessly, with people existing as isolated islands without connection and exchange of energies between each other.

When I was recovering from my illness, my children’s father bought me a paddle board. It is an inflatable version that can be packed neatly away into a backpack.

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He’s the sort of traditional, strong and muscular man who would not accept any help from a woman when it comes to carrying things.  Last weekend, we decided to go paddle boarding somewhere remote that required hiking down steep slopes and hiking quite a long way.

“May I help?” I asked at the beginning of our journey.

“No, it’s not that heavy,” came his reply.

Sure, for a powerfully built man like him, it was not heavy. But over a long distance in the hot midday sun, it became heavy. Even for a strong man like him. Anything becomes heavy if you have to carry the load on your own for a long stretch. Life is not meant to be a long trek carrying a heavy load on your own.

Fortunately, he is blessed with enough wisdom to say, “OK, you can carry the pump and the life vest.”

The trek became sweeter after that, as life does when you have someone to share the load. Indeed, nobody has to live or die alone. Emotional isolation makes a person into an unkind Mr/Mrs Grinch, as a neurobiology study shows: you can read about it here.

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