Saturday, December 11, 2010

Who do we put first? Ourselves or others?

I'm conflicted.

Who do we put first? Ourselves or others?

Do we put aside the things we want and need so that others can have what they want and need?

Or do we say "this is my life, I'll do what I want."

I'm conflicted.

But you already know that.

DH and I commute to and from work together, we do our grocery shopping and errands on the way home from work. On the weekends, I like to just chill out and be home. Generally I have homework and since it is difficult to stay up too late on weeknights doing it, I catch up on it on the weekends. Also, I just like being home--it's relaxing to me. I spend most hours of my workdays solving other people's problems and at the end of the day I am  mentally exhausted. This doesn't mean DH's job doesn't exhaust him too, but not being the one who does his job I cannot speak about the details as well as I can my own. While I love people, on the weekends, on my time, I don't want to be around them. Weekends are my time to regenerate.

There are many times DH will want to go somewhere on the weekends and I'll politely decline. While I like being home and relaxing and getting done things I need to get done, it doesn't eliminate the pangs of guilt I sometimes feel for declining. One part of me thinks I should do what I want and part of me thinks I should sacrifice and do something he wants to do. Sometimes I compromise, most other times I do not. I come back to thinking that this is my life and I should not have to do something I don't want to do.

Today was a difficult situation. Weeks ago DH asked me if I wanted to go to Tallahassee to the Antique Car Museum. I've been there with him three times, it's an awesome place. But after three trips, I don't find anything interesting about it anymore. I mean, how many times can you look at the same old antique cars? Well, because I knew DH would get upset if I did not go, I relented and told him I would. I figured sometimes we do things we don't want to do, if it makes others happy. Isn't that the way it works?  I have a guilty conscience what can I say? Besides, he said that we were going to this historic antebellum town we read about near Tallahassee, I thought as a History major I might enjoy that.

Last night I went to bed late because I was up studying till about 11 pm. this morning when the alarm went off, I went back to sleep. I did eventually get up thirty minutes before we were supposed to leave and he got annoyed when I wasn't ready in time. Finally I told him to go by himself, that I didn't want to go anyway. So he left and I while I felt bad, I was relieved. I could spend a peaceful day studying my notes for the Journalism final and he could go and do whatever he wanted to do. Still, while I am actually glad I did not go, I can't help but feel guilty. Putting myself in DH's shoes, what if he doesn't like going places by himself? He seems happy to go by himself most places, he loves to railfan (watching trains) and other places by himself. Maybe he's indifferent to whether or not I go with him. If he is, he'll never tell me.  He told me this morning that he wanted me to go to Tallahassee because he knew I would enjoy it. So was he doing it for himself? Or for me?

Don't get me wrong, occasionally I am known to do things I don't want to do, for the benefit of others. Take Thanksgiving for example. I didn't want to go to my brother's house, nothing to do with him, just that I wanted to be home. I had a ton of homework and research to do and would have much rather cooked a turkey at my house for the two of us. But months earlier, I had told mom I would take her and grams to bro's house and when mom couldn't go, there was no one else to take grams. Grams can drive at 93 but we thought it best she not have to make the 1 1/2 hour drive by herself.  DH knew I did not want to go, yet I did it anyway. I simply said, "I told mom I would do it, I can't not take grams."

I am sure that was on his mind today. And he would have been right to be angry. In one situation, I did something I didn't initially want to to, for my grandmother and mother, but in another situation I did not make that sacrifice for him. This leads me to be very apprehensive about making any commitments to anyone, anymore, about anything. If I refrain from making promises or commitments to anyone, nobody gets hurt. I have to stand my ground and say "I'm sorry but I cannot do it..." whatever "it" is and be honest about it and stand my ground.

Is that wrong?

I am not a selfish person by nature. Throughout my life, I've been the kind of person to do things for others without asking for anything in return. It just seems that as I get older, I like to think about myself first. I guess it's self-preservation mode kicking in. This does not mean I don't care about others, I do. It's just that what matters to me and what is important to me personally is now an important part of the decision making process in my life. To be honest, this is one of those moments I miss being single when it really was "all about me" although in those days, even though I didn't have to account to anyone else, there were occasional issues of guilt, usually related to family. Being single doesn't eliminate that, believe me.

No one can tell me if I am right or wrong here, it is just something I need to sort out. Maybe I'll never sort it out. Maybe it's not even something that needs sorting out. Maybe it just is what it is.

1 comment:

  1. I have all the time in the world now to do whatever I like. But given the choice I would much rather have gone with Dad every time he used to ask me to go to the store with him, simply because he liked me going with him and the two of us being together. I hope you'll never have to look back and feel the way I do now.