Lifejacket

October 27th 2016

Today Alice sat on the floor and cried because I bought her a present. She got home from work and there was an Amazon parcel waiting for her. I told her she could open it and she text me back saying that she’d just sat on the floor and cried because it made her so happy.

I bought her a book that she said she wanted – it wasn’t a particularly big deal, I didn’t think. But it made her happy. I’ve tried to be less selfish recently, because I’ve been so concentrated on my own life that I’ve forgotten to take interest in the lives of the important people around me.

I’ve always thought of myself as the most important person in my life, and I’m not ashamed of that, but I’m aware that it’s one of my least redeeming qualities. I think that every person should first care for themselves before worrying about others. Like how air stewardesses in the pre-flight safety briefing instruct you to put on your own life jacket and air mask before helping others.

Before, I would have listened to that advice. My Mum wouldn’t. My Dad wouldn’t. Alice probably wouldn’t. I’d be safely strapped in to a big, yellow inflatable gilet before the plane even hit turbulence.

But I’m trying to turn that around. Now that I’m living in my own house, where I haven’t got my Mum looking after me, and now that my own life is sorted a bit, I should be worrying about others.

All my life, as the baby of the family, I’ve had people around me willing to put my life jacket on for me. But sometimes, the help needs to be aimed in the other direction.

At a certain point, the scales switch. (is that the phrase? The tables turned? That doesn’t make sense either. It’s something like that) I’m now at an age where it won’t be long before I’m looking after and responsible for first, a wife, then a child, and then probably Mum. And I’ll be the one, in this theoretical plane crash situation first focusing my attention on my kin before securing my own safety.

Until tomorrow, I’d like to think I already would.

Jacn

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