As always, the new year bring about thoughts of the past, plans for the future, dreams of what we hope to accomplish and worries of things that might, or might not, happen.
This last decade was incredible and terrible. We had our first, and only, child. I lost many friends and gained very few to replace the empty places vactated by those departing. I had sickness that set me back, physically, quite a bit, suffered an incredible betrayal at the hands of someone I thought was a friend, and we lost my father-in-law in the closing months of the decade.
With past New Years celebrations, I, like so many before me and so many will continue to do, had fallen into the habit of creating a “New Years Resolution”. Those rambling self congratulatory promises that many of us make, to make us feel better about ourselves for a short period of time, and then make us feel bad when, typically about two months into the new year, we fall back into our old habits and forget those “resolutions”.
This year I have decided to actually MAKE the resolution a habit again, but not for anything new. I have decided to make a promise to keep doing something that I have already been doing, but to transition it into a lifestyle, going forward.
That resolution is called, simply… SCREW IT.
Many people that know me, know that I try very hard to help others. I have given so much of my time and energy to people that I do and do not know, to try and help them or help them help themselves. I do this never asking for anything in return and many times if someone DOES try to pay me back, I turn it down. I do that because I do not help people for my own benefit. Since I do not believe in a “Heaven”, I am not expecting brownie points for my good deeds to get some special table or audience with G-d or any other deity (yes, some may point out some implied hypocrasy in that I spelled G-d that way… it is out of respect and habit.) I do not think that, even if there IS a heaven, that it works that way anyhow.
But back to my point.
I have become tired of offering suggestions, helping out, putting my time out there only to not see the person, or persons, I am trying to help actually use, try to use, or appreciate the effort. I am also tired of not seeing some response from people that I try to help. No… I am not asking for praise or a pat on the back. I am asking for people to show respect for the efforts by improving themselves. Or by taking the advice or suggestions and working with them to try to make things better for themselves or those around them.
For example… if you come to me and ask me for advice to set up a page on LinkedIn for your job search and I help you, and I am talking about REALLY helping you, not just point out a couple things and let you go. But sit with you and walk you through everything and then, after all that, you tell me that you had your little brother do it for you… then yeah… I am going to be pissed.
If you ask me for help in getting a job, and I go out on a limb, find you a position and get you in the door and call in favors, and then you say, “Sorry, It’s not what I was looking for.” Then, again… pissed.
These are only two of a couple books of examples I have. And starting this year, it all changes. Altruism has it’s limits and this year, going forward, I have a limited supply.
I will still help. But the moment I see it is not going to be used by the person I am helping, or that the effort is going to be wasted, on my part, I am stepping back and saying…
Do I sound like I am being a little too harsh? Maybe. But we all know what I am talking about. If you are over 25 and have a good heart, you know exactly what I am talking about. Chances are that by 25, if you are one of those that feels good about giving of yourself, that you have had at least one time when someone asked for help, you spent your time with them, and then they went and did it their own way anyhow and, as seems to happen in the cases I recall, they fell on their face.
Yeah… that is what I am talking about, and I am done.
Yes… I know it is harsh. But I have my reasons. Mostly it is that I look at my life and see the investments I made in so many others at the expense of my own happiness and time. And while that is fine for family and the people close to me, it is not so much when I do this for people whose closeness is defined on what I can do for them and do not hear from them otherwise.
That’s all today.
Happy New Year and Happy New Decade.