Today I figured out how to replace a fuse in my car. I know that may sound strange…big deal, right?

Actually, it was a big deal.  Almost as big a deal as when I fixed the vacuum cleaner, all by myself. It was right after my marriage ended and I found myself alone and helpless (or so I thought).

I was cleaning my house, when suddenly the vacuum cleaner stopped working. After throwing a tantrum, and trying to figure out what I was going to do next, I sat staring at the machine, remembering how easy it used to be having someone else around to share the day to day challenges of life. As I sat there feeling sorry for myself, something stopped me. I stood up, rolled up my sleeves, and I took that vacuum cleaner apart…piece by piece, I cleaned the parts and carefully put it back together. I picked up the cord, plugged it into the outlet, and took a deep breath. I flipped the switch and ‘vrrrrrooooom!’ It worked! You would have thought I had won the lottery. I was dancing and jumping up and down thinking, “I did it! I am going to be OK!” Right then and there I realized that I could put myself back together and I did not ‘need’ a man in my life…I was going to be just fine all on my own.

As the years have gone by, and the longer I have lived on my own, I’ve became more and more independent. I’ve become a strong, self-sufficient woman who’s done a beautiful job of building thick walls around her, making it harder and harder to let someone into her life. I’m not saying there haven’t been times of loneliness, and I’m not saying I’ve been without companionship from time to time, but I have ultimately made it very difficult for someone significant to come into my life.

When you find yourself living on your own, especially later in life, it is inevitable that you will get into a rhythm, a routine, and get set in your ways. This only makes it harder to bring someone into your world who may ‘stir the pot’, sort of speak, and disrupt your world as you know it. Not only that, but you find yourself loving your own space and ways of doing things so much, that if someone breaks through those walls, you will still keep them at arm’s length. You wouldn’t want to slip back to that place of maybe ‘needing’ someone now, would you?

So, what happens when this whole mindset thing is challenged? You find yourself looking at your life and really wondering if you could allow someone in. If you’ve been alone for quite awhile, it can be pretty darn scary! Not scary because of the other person, but scary because you might let your guard down too much. Scary, because you might actually start enjoying the companionship and having someone else in which to share your ‘world’. Scary, because you’ve worked so hard over the years to be ‘OK’ on your own, and now you have to learn to trust, and learn to allow someone to take care of YOU….Yikes!

What happens if this person starts moving things around…both in your space and in your mind? What if they start evoking feelings and thoughts that could cause you to be vulnerable? You’ve worked so hard over the years to build those walls up to be strong enough to protect yourself from getting hurt, needing help, and…OK, I’m saying it…feeling something…

So is it possible to change? To allow someone in? The only advice I can give would be to the person who is thinking of tearing down those walls…be patient…take it slow, and don’t take it personally if it seems like they are trying to put those walls back up as you are breaking them down. Chances are, they just need a little extra time, and just want to make sure that everything is going to be OK.