...and some are not.
For many years, I’ve walked life’s high wire without a net. It was a conscious, deliberate choice, one that for many years I did not regret at all. I went into a career that demands a certain level of self-reliance while understanding that it made me vulnerable to the actions – and inactions – of others. I chose to follow a path of reserving intense commitment to others until I really meant it. You can work for yourself, but you need others to pay you for your work. You can love yourself, but at a certain point you need others – at least one other – to love you as well.
The only safety net I have ever sought, in my business and personal lives, has been the integrity of others. It has not turned out to be a very safe net.
I know – and know of – many people whose continued existence depends on helping hands that offer things these people can’t (or won’t) provide for themselves. Most of the time, I haven’t begrudged them their safety nets. Hell, I’ve even contributed to the sheltered state some people enjoy, offering what I could to make them feel safe and appreciated. Loved, even.
As time grows shorter, however, I’m beginning to wonder if I blew it. Clearly, I’ve made some errors of both commission and omission that are coming back to haunt me. I’ve been finding that I lack certain personality traits that are vital for success and to entice other people to want to be around me.
Some I could pretend to have, if I was willing to present a dishonest front. Maybe people would see right through any attempt to do that; it seems to me that one has to have a talent for self-misrepresentation to make that work. I don’t think I have it.
Worse, I’m beginning to wish I had access to the shelter some seem to take as a right. I wish I could just hand my troubles over to someone else when things go sour.
Though I was born in the last century, I was taught a code that belongs more appropriately to the century before that. I was taught to keep my emotions to myself, was taught that hard work brings rewards, was taught that talent is recognized, was taught that a person’s word is their bond. The first is something I have grown increasingly unable to do, the second, third and fourth have been proven, over and over, to be lies.
PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: Don’t think for a moment that I’m saying everyone is against me. I know better than that. I have a couple of friends who would go to great lengths to offer help and comfort, as I would for them. But the kind they can offer -- or that I can offer them -- don't quite go far enough any longer.
Nor am I blaming everyone else for my obvious screw-ups. I know what part I've played in digging this hole. That doesn't necessarily excuse others who have gleefully helped to deepen the hole, though. It is not self-pity to apportion the blame where it belongs.
Many wise people believe in the words they read that exhort them to "accept what life gives you," that tell them what they imagine for themselves is what will happen, that tell them if others make you angry it is your responsibility not to be angry, that tell them if you can somehow picture happiness in your mind it will be your lot in life. If these beliefs work for them, that's a good thing and I'm all for it. My experiences have led me to believe none are true for me.
I have imagined a lot of happy scenarios, have even worked to make them real. They did not work out. When I have refused to be angry when others do things deserving of anger, it seemed to spur them to redouble their efforts to hurt. When I pictured happiness, the pictures never came out right. Probably my fault.
I’m getting a little frightened here, friends. My abilities to trust, to feel sadness and/or pity for others, to walk the high wire unprotected, are vanishing. My desires remain, my belief in their eventual fulfillment is vanishing.
Simply not feeling sad is no longer a satisfactory goal. There’s not enough time left on the game clock for that to be acceptable any longer. My list of needs has been pruned down to two, perhaps three, items. Even those seem unattainable.
So the Question of the Day is: what do you do when the game is almost over and you feel that all the years, all the work, all the emotions put out there, have led to nothing?
And what are you supposed to do with whatever days or years are left?
I wish I could be sheltered. At least enough to regain my ability to get back on the high wire again.
8 hours ago