I'm not a religious guy at all, which is why sayings such as "God only gives you as much as you can handle" mean nothing to me. Actually, it is life experience that allows me to disregard the emotional crutch that is religion and come face to face with my own limitations. As Clint Eastwood is famous for saying, every man has got to know his limitations. Mine have been exceeded, but there are no options. There is no time-out in life, and there is no way to freeze the clock so we can catch our breath. So what do we do when it becomes too much?
I'm no guru, nor am I a wise old man who lives alone on a mountain top. I am a miserable old man who lives in a two-story house, but I still have plenty of experience in this thing called life. In my experience, life doesn't care how much it piles onto a person. Things happen either as part of the course of life or due to your own bad planning, and either way you have to deal with them. But when you get overloaded with things that you just cannot handle, then that is when you have to start thinking about yourself and the ones who really matter.
Some decisions in life are not easy and I understand that. But when you are faced with what seems like a never-ending list of decisions that are not easy, you start to think that maybe you should consider yourself for a while and let others do what they will. Is that selfish? It depends on how you look at it.
Would I leave someone to drown in the middle of a lake when I was the only person who could help? Of course not. Not even I am that callous. But if there are plenty of other boaters nearby just watching the drowning person, then I might be inclined to ask the closest person to help. Sometimes people just don't want to get involved in situations, and I can understand that. But for the people like me who care about pretty much everything, that does not really help.
What happens if you take on more than you can handle? If you do so for an extended period of time with no help then, inevitably, you crack under the pressure. That sounds like a very individual experience, but think about all of the other lives that one person is propping up. You know, the emotional burden that caused the collapse in the first place. What happens to all of those people?
At some point, you have to reel in your humanitarian reach and concentrate on the people who matter most. There are people who can thrive by being everything to everyone. These are the people who start volunteer programs and affect the lives of thousands of people. But not everyone was equipped with that kind of ability, and it is unfair for the rest of the world to think that asking for help should automatically be answered with a positive response.
Is this rambling nonsense the first signs of me cracking up? It might be. When you are forced to put down the things you want to do to take up the tasks you don't want anything to do with, your life diminishes a little. When that happens over and over again, you become less of yourself and more of everyone else. You lose your own identity. You cannot become your own person, and for staunch individualists like me, that is torture of the worst kind.
I take care of my own and to the best of my ability. Then I was hit with a whole series of new challenges that keep compounding on each other. When that weight felt oppressive, more was added from a variety of other sources. Any sane person would tap out at that point, but I cannot do that. If I feel like people are relying on me, then I have to respond.
But those days may be coming to an end. I enjoy giving advice based on my life experiences, but I am no longer capable of taking on your cause for you, or even with you. I have limits, and they have been reached. What happens next is anybody's guess.