All told, there is little worry about in my life—my own life, which I treat with the same carelessness as how I handle the things I have owned for a long time, and which scares others. Do you not value this? They ask me as I waltz around casually. It does, of course, I tell them, but I tend to not worry about it anymore. But our life is seldom just our own, and all poems and platitudes have lied for a long time, so I worry. I worry about everyone else in my life. That is just how things are, and there is little I can do to help it. I own many things, some of which are expensive, and if one were to break tomorrow, I would wince, and it would pinch me for a day or two, but then, I would not have it in me to care. But if it were someone else’s possession, I would treat it better than I treat myself on a good day. I would keep it safe, sound and protected. I am this way with everything people possess—including their lives and disposition.
We can always trudge around with our sadness and our pain. We have known it for years, decades even, but it hurts when there is pain in the room, and it is not our own. This second-hand difficulty makes my heart sink and suffocate in the depths of the human experience. I read a long time ago that the origins of altruism have hints in our genetics. I do not know if that is true, and frankly, I do not care enough to look it up. All I know is that if I were bleeding profusely and had all my ribs broken, and if there was but a scratch on someone I know and care for, I would tend to them first. If there were time and patience, I would get to fix my own self, but first, I would ask them: are you okay?
I smile when a friend asks me why I worry so much when life seems more fecund than an apple tree in season. I wish I could tell them this, but if you tell people this, they begin to get worried for no reason in particular, and I know a thing or two about how that feels.