What I Owe

My debt to others is huge, and my inability to even keep up with them at times drives me crazy.

That’s where my loneliness has come from, I think. I wanted her in my life not to escape my friends, but to be friends with the people I have in my life. It’s really weird when I reflect on it: she never asked about them – that I understand because I never really talked about them much, and she always had drama of her own – and I now think in a more fundamental sense, she never could ask about them.

For to understand the good people have done for me, the amount people have tolerated of me, is to understand that friendship involves debts that can’t be repaid. And trying to pay those debts is what constitutes friendship. Most of her friends – while they are good people who do watch out for her – are better than average drinking buddies. The purpose is not to do things for each other out of a sense of something higher, but rather to escape reality together. And they have watched out for her at times, making sure she gets out of places when things get rough, etc., but I don’t know that the sense of obligation or purpose is the same.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that Aristotle was right to see that people are friends for different purposes, for now I can see why I feel lonely. The question for me is whether I am being a true friend, and the question of something higher always nags, because I’d like to be a true friend. It might be easier with a better half, as there might be more love to go around, but still, that nagging feeling would be there in me, I hope.

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  1. The trick to combating lonliness is to be balanced. Balance is not about indebtedness or the repayment of debt, but feeling that giving is as rewarding as getting. It is also the absence of guilt in receiving gifts from, those who need to give them.

  2. You have to look deeper at what Aristotle meant about the types of “friends.” He says explicitly, and I know you know this, that one can only be true friends with another that is on the same level – intellectually speaking – as you are. Other wise, they are just good acquaintances. Your loneliness is only perceived, I think, because you reach out to those below you. Your efforts are noble but perhaps they are holding you back and creating a sense of not being able to relate. It isn’t your fault. She was a baby, and can only hope to become an adolescent child. You however, are a man – someone that has gone through the trials and become a responsible, mature, adult. Unfortunately our society doesn’t seem to value such people, and so, you are left with her.

    Cheer up and count your blessings! Life is not about how many friends you have, but the quality of those friendships. And I am sure that, when all is considered, you give equally of yourself. In fact I know you do! You are looking for more than friendship. Nothing vulgar, but more than just a friend. Like you said,a “better half.” Well, I believe that you will be the “better half” in any relationship. So, what you can only hope for is that she empowers you to be a better person, a better man, a better scholar. That is love!

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