Ourselves

Somebody else can save us from black knights, invading aliens, or even time warping transvestites. It’s a big universe out there. Everybody needs a helping hand occasionally. Some more than others, but that’s beside the point. There’s only one thing someone else can’t rescue us from – ourselves.

We’re our own best friend and worst enemy. We relate best to us because we know all the gory details, the strength of every emotion, the true meaning of every thought we’ve ever had. And the only person we must live with our entire lives. (Technically that’s not absolutely true since Multiple Personality Disorder is on the rise.)

The only battlefield we’ll find ourselves on for all eternity is the one in which we struggle against ourselves. I’ll be the first to admit that finding balance between my needs, responsibilities, and entertainment is a struggle. Is it any wonder we seem a bit selfish when we introduce others into the formula?

And there’s yet another thing that we must find balance with – our inner and outer worlds. We all participate in this perpetual juggling act whether we’re aware of it or not. It’s the balance between these opposing forces that makes us who we are. And the evidence of those opposing forces is prevalent in everything we do.

There’s an old Chinese curse: may you get exactly what you wish for. It took me a long time to wrap my head around that one. A wish is useless without a plan on how to get there. It’s a pointless gesture unless you’re willing to put out the effort to make your wish a reality. That’s a failing a lot of us have. We spend our time wishing instead of making our dreams come true. Our real, heartfelt wishes, are reflected in our everyday life.

A modern interoperation of that ancient curse might be phrased: may you get exactly what you deserve. Ironically it’s a curse that perpetually comes true whether we want it to or not. The steps we take in our lives lead inexorably to where we are. The amount of effort we put into that journey is reflected in where we’re at.

One of the most obvious aspects of family is that they set the starting gate of our lives. Whatever our family does, they give us an edge in that particular aspect. Some families offer more advantages than others. Some more disadvantages. In the end, what counts is the direction we go after leaving that starting gate, where we put our effort decides our fate.

Accidents happen. Plans derail. Life throw’s us curves. But the only one who can set our course is ourself. We can take the advice of another, or strike out on our own. We can even chose to take no responsibility at all. But like Rush said in their song Freewill, “If you chose not to decide, you’ve still made a choice.” We, each individual, must live with the choices we’ve made. In the end, the responsibility, consequences, and benefits are ours.

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