I think I have care fatigue. Not full-on compassion fatigue, it’s just that my personal care.com is coming up with a 404 page. It’s redirecting to “I don’t give two shits dot com.”
I’m supposed to care about the suffering of those less fortunate in my own neighborhood. I’m supposed to care about the suffering of those in my country. I’m supposed to care about people starving to death around the world. I’m supposed to care about every abandoned or feral animal in my city. I’m supposed to care about illegal trades that cause the death or extinction of animals around the world. I’m supposed to care that everything I put in my body is all-natural, organic, and untouched by GMOs. I’m supposed to care that science can direct me to the right vitamins to take to supplement whatever I’m not getting with my all-natural, organic, untouched food. I’m supposed to care that the soap I use doesn’t contain palm oil, unless it’s ethically harvested palm oil that doesn’t disturb the orangutans (see animal death/extinction care). I’m supposed to care about the unborn babies. I’m supposed to care about life extension. I’m supposed to care about the rights of the marginalized. I’m supposed to care that some people have more than others. I’m supposed to care about the shift from physical books to ebooks. I’m supposed to care about making New Year’s Resolutions. I’m supposed to care about not setting myself up to fail. Blah blah blah blah blah.
When everything is important, nothing is important. I forget who said that, and it may just be a paraphrase… but it does ring true. My old boss at the Enginerding company used to say that when five different Enginerds would come in with markups and they all had to be done before those other four. When they all have to be done first, nothing can be done first. When I’m supposed to care about everything, or do everything, or whatever… everything becomes too much. It has to be narrowed down because our days, our emotions, our abilities are not made of unlimited resources. There is a finite number of hours in the day to do things and there’s only so much we can expend before, just like needing to eat when hungry or sleep when tired, that we need to shut our emotions off and care about nothing, even for just a bit. Let the well fill again because we’ve dried it out.
So if I don’t care about the unborn babies? If I don’t care about the palm oil? If I don’t care that some people have more than others? That doesn’t make me unaware of the world. It doesn’t make me heartless. It means that I have focus, and prefer to focus on things closer to home, things I can do, like adopting a hard-to-place dog, or making casseroles for grieving friends, or buying my share of physical books. If you want to champion the marginalized, or save the whales, or feed the starving in some foreign country, awesome. Good for you. Have a cause and champion the shit outta that. Make your loved ones proud. And maybe some of your enthusiasm for being a force of good will recharge my empty care batteries.