Living For Others

In my book Remnant, I based the character of Ethan on myself. (That kind of thing is hard to avoid when you’re an author. Basing characters on real people makes it easier to make the character more real, and there’s no one we all know better than ourselves.) As the reader learns by the end of the book (careful for spoilers), Ethan is virtually unsympathetic toward anyone except family, and the love he has for family is, arguably, greater than most people have for their family. I think this is Ethan’s defining attribute. Only family matters to him at all. And that, too, I based on myself.

Of course, I can’t say that completely applies to myself. Ethan is a more extreme version of myself, in both good and bad ways. Also, I’ve always had a limited range of people who are actually family in my life, so I’ve always just chosen who I love and treat like family. I choose good people (or, people who I think are good people at the time) as my ‘family.’ And those are the ones I love immensely, while paying little to no attention to anyone else.

Yesterday, I was thinking about people I’ve sacrificed a great deal of my time and energy for. I’m 25, but I don’t feel that old; I feel maybe 20. What makes me feel like 5 years have been shaved off my life? Mainly: Depression, and sacrificing many months of my time to help a junkie become sober, and years trying to make a relationship work out with a toxic, stagnant woman. The depression bit came from what happened right before I turned 20, which is being dumped by my first love after being cheated on.

So, one would think I should focus more on myself and not be overly devoted to others, especially when it puts my life on hold? Well, that would be right. But I don’t have regrets, though. It actually makes me proud that I can, and often do, become so committed to people, whether it be for love or to save their life. This aspect of who I am will likely never change, but the main thing I’ve learned the past 5 years is learning how to control it.

Learning who’s worth such devotion in the first place. Learning how to keep myself growing strong and moving forward with my life while being so committed.

I’ve rarely been ‘obsessed’ with one person at a time; it’s usually several. Like I said earlier, it’s family that I commit to, but at times 90% of my focus can be concentrated on one person, and that’s bad. It should never be that much. Perhaps … 51%, to get super technical.

But hey, at least I can be devoted to people, unlike the majority of people I’ve known in my life. I’ve been devoted to friends, lovers, and family, but what’s still missing in my life is a child of my own to be devoted to.

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