I’ve been called a lot of things over the years. Josh (obviously), “Criss-Cross” (a takeoff of my last name), and even Spike (our college mascot, whose odiferous costume I regularly inhabited for two years). And then there are the adjectives I’ve been called by exes: “Jerk,” “Doofus,” and some that shouldn’t be repeated but were probably deserved at the time.
One more recent description that I received from a friend as a reason that I still find myself single is: “self-centered.” I was absolutely taken aback at first. But she being the good friend that she is and me being the practiced over-thinker that I am, I decided to try to step back and take it to heart. After some mulling, I determined that my friend may not be completely wrong, but I’m also not convinced that a little self-centered behavior is completely bad.
Allow me to clarify a bit. If I were someone who attended solely to my own affairs and self-interests at the expense of anyone else, it would be a problem. But (and there is bias in what’s to follow) I think that I’m seen as a fairly empathetic individual for the most part. That being said, there are some very distinct ways in which I can’t see myself as anything but self-centered. And I don’t feel bad about them.
I live alone. I have for the better part of the last 18 years (Has it been that long? Really?? *sigh*) and have owned a house for a little more than five years. Being a homeowner means that sometimes I have to prioritize my house over other things. Nobody else is going to take care of the repairs, maintenance, and cleaning. And the investment being what it is, I have to make it a priority. There have been times where a show or concert has been offered, but I’ve turned it down in favor of a repair that needed to be done around the house. I love spending time with my friends; I love getting out and seeing shows. But I have to take care of my investment. Tending to my house leaves me needing to be self-centered at times.
I take my health seriously. After the excruciating experience involved with kidney stones, I took some time at the beginning of this year to be completely, totally, and utterly self-involved to put my health on the right track. I went into nearly full lockdown mode, fixed my diet and exercise routine, and lost 30 pounds in the process (woo!), and made myself a happier, healthier person. But again—it definitely was self-centered.
I’ve taken every improv class that I can get into over the last two years. I know that I have a long way to go to be among the best in town, but boy does it make me happy trying. And technically, that’s self-centered. But to do the things that keep me sane, motivated, and positive? I can live with that label. There may be parts of me that want desperately to be recognized and sought-after as a performer, but that’s not all bad is it?
Now this is not to say that every bit of self-centeredness is positive. I admit to having some control freak in me. A friend asked me how I would react when the time comes to move in with someone. It does scare me a bit. When you start sharing space, responsibilities, and life, there are ways in which you have to give a little. Or a lot. Or completely (the toilet paper rolls over the top, and don’t you dare try to change that!). And it will be challenging to have to not do it my way all the time. But it doesn’t make it any easier. Hopefully that special someone being there every day will.
I’ve been single for long enough that I am in the habit of just looking out for myself. I don’t think it’s unnatural. It took me a long time to get to the point of being comfortable with getting past the idea of waiting for someone to do things with. So now, when I want to go for a hike and take some pictures, I don’t put myself out there to find someone to go with me—I just go and do it. When I want to go see a show, I just go. Admittedly, it’s freeing to be able to go where I want, when I want. But these experiences would definitely be better with someone to share the experience. So…to those that know me or would like to get to know me: who wants to go hiking or to see a show?
Tell us in the comments what you think. Is it ok to be a little self-centered at times?
When Josh Krauskopf isn’t doing his day job, he’s trying to learn new places to focus his creative energies. Improv and writing are the current obsessions, but there’s undoubtedly more to come. He firmly believes that if you’re not learning, you’re dying!