Selfish – A Theme

I am a selfish person.  I overvalue my “personal” time.  Truth is, for the past year, most of my time has been “personal” time and it may be time to broaden my experience.  This past Friday I missed my niece’s school music concert.  I said I would be  there, and I forgot.  Just completely flaked.  I had been cleaning my apartment and the particular synapse that should have accessed that particular memory either did not fire or was otherwise engaged in something else.  Scientifically speaking.  It upset me enough that I began reflecting on my selfishness.

I have had an exceedingly easy life.  I remain untouched by any real personal tragedy.  My family is as, or more, functional than most.  I have never spent a night in the hospital since my birth.  Never broken a bone or had stitches. The challenges I have faced are neither worthy of publication nor worthless enough to forget.  Exceedingly average… except I am selfish.  Embarrassingly so.  I don’t volunteer like I should, despite my incredible awe for all those who do.  I don’t make time for my friends like I should, or my family.

If you ask my friends about me, they will say I am a really nice guy,  but I don’t keep in touch very well.  Facebook has mitigated that slightly, but I am still absolutely terrible at actually picking up the phone, or a writing instrument, and actually communicating with my friends.  It isn’t that I don’t value them – I value them very highly and the last year has certainly emphasized their incredible kindness.  I just don’t talk to them much.  Perhaps that is the main reason behind my desire to express myself here.  I’ve never been a fantastic conversationalist.  My mind moves too deliberately to have a quick comeback at the ready or a wry or insightful interjection to add to the flow of communication.

But, so what?  I should challenge myself to be with my friends, not because of what it does for me, but for what it might do for them.  Maybe they just need a listener (something that I am actually very good at) or just need someone to be around for a little while.  Why do I have such a hard time giving of myself freely to those who truly deserve my time?

It’s getting a bit monotonous being a hermit.  I think I miss college because of the built-in social aspect.  You were around people already hard-wired to share at least some of your interests and the commonality of our college experiences made the flow of ideas much easier.

I had a dream about a dear friend from college with whom I do not keep in contact nearly enough.  If ever there was one person who I could have ever envisioned spending my life with, it was her.  She has a fabulous family, a truly great laugh, she was cute in a way that just drew me in every time I saw her, she was just… really great.  She’s married now with an adorable little girl and I am happy for her, but I can’t help regretting a road not taken.  See… even now I’m thinking of me.

Then I have friends who I can go without seeing for a long time, and when we reconnect, it’s like we never hadn’t talked.  One of those friends is another near-perfect being.  If there is any one person I would like to be like, it would be her – Cultured, funny, intelligent, principled, a fine cook, always learning.  I am sure she has faults somewhere, but she is an extraordinary person.

Then I have a friend who has been through a lot of pain over the last few years.  Sadly, I have steadfastly been a terrible friend to him.  Not out of cruelty or anything like malice, but simply because his pain happened to coincide with a period of steadily growing apart.  We have things in common and I still love him, but there is a substantial connection that was once there that has dissipated.  And the sad part is that I do not know why or when it happened.  Yet, we do get together every once in a while.  Everything between us is very superficial.  I just don’t know how to communicate with him anymore.  And I imagine he feels as frustrated by my distance.

Ugh… confessionals are so dreary and self-indulgent.  But I do thank you for allowing me a chance to share mine.

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