Year of questions: How do you balance dreams vs. responsibilities

This is a philosophical question which I think has a different answer for every person.

I’m constantly thinking about this, how do I do what I feel truly destined to do vs. what I have to for my family, friends, and community. The two are not always in opposition, often what I want to do for others is what I want…but always erring on the side of giving too much I also run into a lot of problems taking care of what I need to do for myself.

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2 thoughts on “Year of questions: How do you balance dreams vs. responsibilities”

  1. First, let me start off by saying that you pose some very interesting questions on this blog!

    I’m sure some folks would argue that what I’m about to say is a product of my youth, but here goes: the truth is that you can’t really balance dreams and responsibilities. The two cannot exist in perfect harmony. To strive for that is to drive yourself mad.

    So, by default, one must drive the car and the other must sit shotgun. The way I see it, your own dreams should always be behind the wheel. You are you, you are the one living in your body, you are the one that has to walk around inside the life you’ve built. This isn’t to say that we have no obligation to our friends, our family, or our planet – we most certainly do, and it’s the mark of a good person to fulfill those obligations when they can. The problem arises when people overestimate the frequency with which they can. It’s important that we are kind to ourselves; that we give ourselves a break, ask ourselves what would make us happy, and indulge our own desires more than once in a while.

    After all, if we aren’t enjoying ourselves, what’s the point? It’s kind of like what Howard Thurman said:

    “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

  2. Actually I would argue that your perspective is enlightened for someone just starting college, I think you’re right, it isn’t really possible to balance the two properly. Life’s a mess by definition.

    It’s interesting you point out that it’s the mark of a good person to fulfill obligations when possible. It seems like there’s a division in American culture, I see more people at extremes, either being overly self-involved or overly self-deprecating / sacrificing too much for others.

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