The Shame of Selfishness

5 Oct

Lately, I’ve been discovering what a selfish person I can be. It’s not pretty. Far from pleasant. And I’d like to gloss over it and talk about something pleasant…like my recent bike accidents.

But the elephant in the room is selfishness.

I think about me a lot. And it’s easily justified (at least I think it is) because I don’t live with other people who will advocate for me. But just because it is justified doesn’t mean it’s the right way to live.

I was selfish during the half marathon when my amazing friends were waiting in a long portapotty line mid-race and all I could think about was how I HATE stopping mid-run and counting the people who were passing us. Even though the race was not about me. It was about their first half marathon, their first big metal, crossing that finish line with a smile.

I was selfish when a friend told me there’s a girl he’s interested in. Instead of being excited that she shares similar passions (with both him and me), all I could think was “What? He’ll date her and then there will be no time for long bike rides with me!” When I start putting my own wants in front of my friend’s, that is a sure sign I’m in the wrong.

I’m less selfish with my family which is the only comforting fact I can find in this mental catalogue of wrongs. But if I were to think about the things I have said or thought in the past few hours, there is a lot of “I want’s…”

I want the Phillies to win. And the Flyers. And the Eagles. I want 8 hours of sleep tonight just like regular people. I want the hole in my ankle to disappear. And to not embarrass myself in this marathon. And I want to actually get caught up at work and not always be clawing my way through paperwork. I want my allergic reactions to be resolved. I want to not have to deal with other people’s personal drama. I want guys that I don’t want to date to stop asking me out. I want guys that I would date to ask me out. I want to bike faster. And run longer. I want to not intimidate people. I want a world where people appreciate good manners and witticisms and proper punctuation. I really want the proper punctuation part. And I want to find joy in the not-so-joyful parts of life. And I want to never experience loss or rejection or frustration or being scared-to-the-point-of-inconsolability ever again.

I want a lot of things. And some of them are good. And some of them are unrealistic. And some of them are selfish.

And I don’t want to be selfish. It’s not what I want carved into a grave stone. Or mentioned at a memorial service. Or passed on to my children. Or hinted at within my groups of friends.

I want better for myself. Selfishly, I want to be less selfish. How ironic is that?


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