I hosted a birthday party for a new friend the other Saturday. My best Masters friend was there, who I haven't seen much of since she graduated, and she described me as someone who spends himself on other people, who will befriend someone not because it's in my interests, but because they seem like they need a friend.
This is indeed something I actively do. There's the idea that sometimes I try to be too moral and am a victim of my conscience that a friend has brought up. This all seems quite immodest, but I suppose it's due to connotations. In reality, I do see people who I think need a friend and I try to be there from them, but it's a disingenuous and mean to them, as my interest in them is minimal or in some ways inauthentic, which leads to early exhaustion and then I disappear, which they don't need. Being super moral is detrimental when you let it start to exhaust you or others, especially when the foundation of morality is uncertain; is it really inappropriate or undesirable to do this or that, or is there just a concern of that which is preventing something otherwise rewarding? I don't notice the loss, as it's a habit, an addiction, so I can easily defer or decline things I would otherwise want, believing that I can substitute it with something else pleasant. However, that type of denial can be a deprivation to others who don't prioritise the same things.
Of course, I also don't think I'm too moral, as I don't have an extensive framework of mores. I just have a select few convictions that I was slow to adopt and would be slow to dismiss. But I think the external effect appears the same.
A sense of obligation is what this all amounts to. I constantly do things because I feel obliged to do something, because it feels like the right thing to do, I owe this person or that concept something, I owe them a part of me, and I am second to it.
- My sensei devotes so much time and care to teaching us, I owe him my attention and attendance and involvement.
- My employer pays me well, treats me well, and is understanding. I owe him my best effort, time and energy. I owe him my initiative.
- My thesis supervisor supports me, understands my personal obstacles, funds me, and is patient with me. I owe him a completed Masters, a good thesis, and a positive result.
- My father raised me, fed me, loved me, supported me, and still does all this despite not living at home regularly for a decade. I owe him my love, my time at least once a month if not twice, my attention, and any extra money I might have to spare.
- My friends, ...
- GNOME, ...
My history of pushing my limits has hurt me and others. It's deprived me of sleep, alienated friends, compromised my wahoo and fun and character. It's stressed me out and burnt me out. I've been better in some regards, but bad with others. Stress is different now, it's not my violent enemy. It's a warning sign that reminds me to change. However, I've still spent much of myself on things I don't deeply care about, but feel obliged to invest in.
So, I'm currently spending more of me on me. In fact, it's my goal to spend at least 50% of my waking wake on just what I want to do at that given moment. Not even hobbies may violate this. I hope to allocate 8 hours a night to sleep (56 hours a week), 8 hours a day, 6 days a week to obligations (48 hours a week), and the remaining 64 hours a week to me. Ideally, 32-40 of those obligation hours will be connected to work to survive, and the other 8-16 will be dealing with uninteresting tasks, and this should leave me relatively productive and not over taxed.
So, perhaps I will make it to fewer martial arts practises (I don't always want to go) or attend fewer events with friends (I sometimes just want to be at home) or help fewer friends with their problems (I love helping, but I have my own goals). But I don't think it's been good for me to be always busy and putting my own goals beside.
Take care of yourself.