I want to be my own person, pursue my own interests, live life in a way that makes me happy. I can’t isolate my interests from the interests of others though. The direction I take must consider what’s expected of me from my co-workers, peers, boss, friends, spouse, and kids. Their expectations conflict with my interests. Even where my interests and the expectations of others don’t directly oppose one another in principle…doing one chews away at time so I can’t do the other. Life is limited. I’m connected to other people. I can’t be happy if I am unable to become myself. All these ideas compete. Is happiness the honed skill of navigating a middle path…or is it devotion to others…or to self? Can I be selfish with my time and interests and be a good person at the same time? Can I devote my life to others and not be “fake?” Why would God set life up in this way? Do others struggle with this same paradox, or is it just me that has passions and interests apart from the norms of society?
When you’re tethered to another person in marriage (or probably in other ways too) the other person forms an opinion of you. This opinion may not be readily apparent to you when interacting with your significant other directly. But, it does show itself when dealing in social situations…especially when interacting with one of your significant other’s good friends. For instance, today I was having dinner with my wife’s group of friends for Easter. I’m in Army school. I attend class for about 25 hours week. Then I come home and do about three hours of homework each day…including the weekends. I don’t feel like I’m extremely busy. But the wife…I guess…complains to her friends about the amount of homework the school is giving me. She never complains to me…but I guess she complains to them quite a bit. I found it odd. I got to see how my wife views me through conversations with them.