Back Home Again in Indiana
I was born responsible. Like raised myself and my sisters while our parents were off on their benders responsible. (Nothing about that statement is accurate other than I have sisters, but I needed you to understand what level of responsible I’m operating at.)
The problem with upholding this level of responsibility is eventually you get tired. First you get tired of being the one who’s forced into making the group project into a solo project. Then you get tired of being the one who cleans the communal bathroom. Then you get tired of being the one who takes out the trash. But even though you’re tired, you keep going with your responsibilities because that’s what responsible people do. We load and unload the dishwasher, we sort the laundry, we carry the weight of the world with us always.
And then one day we start to wonder what would happen if we just stopped being responsible. If we didn’t sweep the 4 year old’s dinner off the floor. If we didn’t order groceries for the week. If we didn’t return the library books (remember library books?).
What if instead of being responsible, we just did nothing? What if we slept until noon? What if we sat on the deck all afternoon day drinking with a book? What if we laid on the couch all evening and lost every single one of our brain cells to Flip or Flop? Would the world end? Probably not. But would it descend into mass chaos? That happened in March. So why then do we continue to hold ourselves to this obnoxiously high level of responsibility? WE DON’T KNOW.
All we know is every time we try to stop being so responsible, we’re right back at it 5 minutes later: watering the boxwoods that got moved (although we’re not quite sure from where), making sure our coworkers know their username and password for the system that’s about to change, paying the mortgage and electric bill not only on time but early.
Maybe we do it because our parents raised us right, teaching us that being responsible leads to less stress in the long run. Maybe we do it because of birth order. But I think we really do it because that trash is smelling all sorts of rank and if group projects taught us anything, it’s that it’s not going to take itself out.