I recently came across 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. I was very intrigued by the questions and decided to make answering them one of the goals on my current 101 in 1001 list.
I'm going to try to answer one question a week. You can find the other answers I've written so far here
3. If life is so short why do we do some many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?
Why indeed? Duty, honour, integrity. Because we feel we must? I think it's probably all of those things and more.
Lately I've been trying to put myself first more and worry less about things I should be doing because either society believes I should or I feel like I need to. Things like taking on others problems and being a shoulder to cry on.
I did a good job of that today when I met a very newly disabled person who obviously needed some info and support. I told her one or two very basic bits and gave her the Advice Guide website URL. With others in similar situations I've offered my e-mail or phone number (although those were people I knew a little better and knew I would see again, this lady I may not see again). Part of this is the CAB adviser in me - I know where to go to claim housing benefit, how to fill out a DLA form that sort of thing so what does it cost me to say "oh contact the council to sort out HB" etc etc? I don't (and won't) do proper advice but I do pass on bits that are easily found otherwise or sometimes tell people things from my own experience today - e.g. I told the lady today that DLA forms are depressing because you have to share how bad things are and it helps to get someone else to help you with it - I'd never do a disability related assessment form without help.
I do enjoy my CAB work (most of the time, obviously not always) and I get a lot out of it - it can be very rewarding. And sometimes helping friends is nice too. But I am cutting that down a lot (well, as I said I'm trying to) because it gets draining, especially when you have to keep telling people the same thing. It's not always easy to say no, especially when people go "hey, Emma knows about that (or might do)" but that's the society expecting people to do things again.
I suppose the other thing to think about with this question is "Would we be happy if we did what we enjoy and didn't do what we don't?" And I think the answer is yes. Realistically we couldn't just do things we like and not do things we hate as much as we'd all like to.
Tim McGraw has a song called Live Like You're Dying. I really love that song. It's about making the most of what time you do have, enjoy it and truly live.
(lyrics on the you tube page)
The thing is though if we all "lived like we were dying" we would be happier, more fulfilled and perhaps even happier because we wouldn't be as stressed. But only in the short term. Because at some point society would fall apart. Maybe we wouldn't have clean clothes. Or the shops would run out of food. Or there wouldn't be public transport because no one wanted to drive the buses.
Sometimes we have to spend time doing things we hate, or aren't keen on (hate maybe to strong of a word) because it's what we need to do to survive. I think however that it can be hard to determine how much is enough and when we really can say no.
There are obviously times when we can't do what we'd really love for legitimate reasons. Others when we kid ourselves that it's legitimate but really it's not. No one wants to be thought of as lazy or a scrounger or anything like that. But everyone wants to be happy. I think the true answer to this question lies in the fact that we're all (me especially) fighting to find a way to balance those two things - and finding it hard to do so equally.
This is a tough one to answer but those are some of my thoughts ;-)