Thursday, September 22, 2011

Living Selfishly?

Where exactly do you draw the line between selfish and selfless?  And what percentage of each should we fill our daily lives with?  The world is crowded with people from each spectrum.  People who choose to live every day for others, and some who do quite the opposite.  But who's to say either is right or wrong?  And how does one strike a balance between the two?

I've of course done many selfish things in my life, things I'd take back in a second.   But that's just a part of growing up and finding one's way through this war zone of life.  A war zone I assumed I was forging through quite evenly.  That is, until one day I had a rasping realization that I was in fact living life a little too selflessly, and to be honest, I was getting pretty damn tired of it.

Several years ago, I chose to do one of the most selfish things one can do in life; move away from everybody who cares about you.  These actions affected a wide range of people, causing anger and sadness among the ones I loved the most and the least.  But nonetheless,  it was just one of those things I had to do in life, so I took a deep breath, wiggled my toes, and made a giant leap for those unknown pacific waters.

But from the moment that plane screeched onto the golden brick roads of LaLa land, I knew I was suddenly changing as a person.  I was beginning to live life much more selflessly then I had before, and had no freaking idea why.  I had initially thought that maybe it was just a side effect of getting (sigh) older or the result of surrounding myself with a much higher quality of people(those who hated Sarah Palin as much as I did).  But alas, it was really something much deeper than that, it being a feeling of regret spawning from the guilt that I had felt from leaving everything and everybody behind.

At first though,  living this way didn't seem all that bad.  In fact, I was beginning to adore the person I was now becoming; instantly satisfied with how nicely I'd started treating everybody around me.  Had I really grown into the person I'd always wanted to be?  Well, that all changed one particular morning when the epiphanic pliers of life suddenly yanked my eyes wide open, making it all too clear that there was going to be a big price to pay for living at such a far end of the compass. 

I had begun to stretch myself so thin that I had become virtually invisible.  A human stomping ground for those who saw my kindness with only ignorant eyes. It was like I was in a nonstop game of eggshell walking with a constant leap to level ground.  I was Dorothy's straw man, a bleating scapegoat, and was saying yes, much more than no.   But alas, I couldn't blame anybody but myself.  I mean, when one throws themself out there to the wolves, they can't be naive in thinking they won't get a few bite marks here and there.  Possibly even the occasional stint of rabies.  So that's when I knew things had to change.  It was time to stop worrying about one selfish act, and start living more for myself.

So as of today, I've started to sprinkle a little "me" on my morning eggs.  Taking each fight; each altercation; each disagreement I have with those I "disappoint", with a humongous grain of sodium chloride.  And the lesson I've learned through all of this:  Always proceed with the utmost caution before you decide to bend over backwards for somebody.  Because you just might be unconsciously helping yet another wailing baby who's feverishly pretending they cannot walk.    

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