Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Its been a while since I took to the board and finally couldn’t help but pen things down. Today I’m writing about something that’s so, so easy to underestimate and get wrong in only about a million ways. Today, I talk about responsibility. Not the kind that you’re assigned. Or ordered and instructed to own up to. The kind you fight to take over, the kind that kills you when you try and be accountable for what you opted for, the kind that is THE only thing that could hurt your pride and spirit if you don’t hold up your end up of the bargain. The kind that either crushes you when your shoulders can’t take the weight or leaves with you the most content sigh of relief when done right. That kind.
The responsibility towards a parent, a friend, a sibling, a colleague, your significant other, a group of people dependent on you. You alone. The accountability to bring a smile to their face, be in their corner when they need you, hold the fort for them when they need you to, check up on them when they least expect you to, solve a problem for them before they see it coming because you know them that well, cover for them when they don’t ask you to and most importantly call a spade, a spade for them when they don’t have the strength or courage to do so themselves (and we’ve all been there). Of course it sounds like the most toughest, twisted, self sacrificial, emotionally draining thing to do. These are also exactly the things that make it so, so worth it. From what I’ve learnt while being brought up, this is what builds character. Its the easiest thing in the world to lay back and only be accountable for your own self. For that one day, one moment or one life that concerns only you. Real mettle is when you look at how you can make X number of things better for Y number of people without it having the slightest benefit or indirect payoff for you. It might sound too preachy, too Utopian to be real — but real moral courage is when you know the fate of something you do while in a position of responsibility depends on how well you’re able to do what is right and required, without pointing a single finger at an external factor, blindly trusting the people you’re doing things with and for and never hesitating for a minute when you have to the bear the brunt of missing the shot even though you didn’t fire the gun.
That’s the slightly tricky part about responsibility. When things go south, it can be tough to remember that you asked for this. Knowing fully well what not meeting a certain idea of success might mean. That just because you stood up and owned up to the task at hand, you are in no way entitled to any return on effort. What it might mean to have the hopes of a whole bunch of people hanging on every move you make and the repercussions of that affecting them too. Its easy as pie to get accustomed to the recognition, become inclined to the expectant looks people hold for you, being the one “calling the shots” in one way or another (or at least that’s what it seems like). Its so much harder to earn all of those things organically. Just by virtue of quiet hard work, an open mind and a huge, huge heart. It’s only when these three align do you get the kind of loyalty from any one in your life which when you ask them to jump, makes them ask ‘How high?’. Its easy to start thinking everything’s strategically aligned against you and you have no obligation to change the course of things or sit up and account for the decisions you take when the sails are down. This is where you need to give yourself no other option but to remember you CHOSE to be the one responsible to bring a smile to someones face, pay the bills, lead a team, finish a job, start a family, help someone make a career, be by a friends side when they’re at their worst and sometimes — when you just make the choice to show up, could be the toughest. Rowling definitely knew a thing or two when she told us its our choices that make us who we are. Responsibility for actions varies with their severity too. Its only common sense (which is often sidelined) that when the responsibility might be high and the affected number of people are huge — those should be the kind of things that occupy your mind space constructively the most. My realists may disagree and harp on practically being responsible for yourself, 9 out of 10 times. This is why I always side with the dreamers who have no time for practicality.
Loyalty aside, I think each one of it owes it to ourselves. To our lives. To be responsible for something much more than just OUR own being, our own day, our own job, our own desires wants and the mesh of it all. Or what good is the life that didn’t affect a single other? This isn’t to be confused with the fact that you shouldn’t live for yourself or be accountable for yourself FIRST. Before valiantly trying to save someone else’s boat, don’t let yours sink. But yes. Is it worth it to go all out when you can, risk what you have (your esteem, your time, the opportunity cost of doing something better) at will — all just to bring in a ripple of change and be accountable for it at the same time? A thousand time yes.