I’m 36 years old and still single. When my mom died when I was six years old, she had a budding business which her sister inherited. My brother and I were brought up by my father in his father’s house, then moved to an uncle’s house, and finally to my aunt’s house.
I remember how he always left us to ourselves. He said the death of our mother took a toll on him that drove him to drink. The small business my aunt inherited from my mother allowed her to send us to college.
My father got married again, and sired six children with his new wife. But he was not a good provider. It was around this time that, unexpectedly, my aunt started to dabble in politics and gambling. Those two habits were a lethal combination. She started to lose her business and her hard-earned properties. She was in the casino practically everyday, even on Christmas and New Year’s eve.
Then my father suddenly sent two of his children to me so I could send them to school. He was again doing what he did to me and my brother— passing his responsibilities to his relatives.
I’m now stressing over this, plus the fact that my aunt expects me to help her, too. She wants to maintain a lifestyle she cannot afford. This despite selling what remained of my mother’s business without even bothering to reimburse half of what I’ve put in. I have already lost most of my savings.
Am I justified in feeling used, or am I just being irrational?
Are you justified in feeling what you’re feeling? How could you not? Goodness, you’re carrying your relatives like a millstone round your neck! You’re only 36, practically a babe in the woods—stuck with these obligations and having no say on the matter!
But regardless of how unfair it feels, there is always a silver lining to it. If for no reason at all but simply to lighten your load and feel positive about it, imagine them as exercise weights at the gym which you have to lift everyday. They’re heavy and a pain. But just when you’re about to give up, you find your muscles firming up, you’re getting healthier, and, pretty soon, they’ll feel nothing at all.
The metaphor is, these sacrifices will bulk up your character, however difficult and stressful they seem now.
The fact that you are being made a steward to these people means that the universe thinks highly of you enough to entrust their well-being to you. It means you can handle it, if only you’d accept what’s been given to you without question, without whimper, and without complaint.
Fate is never ungrateful, never forgetful. It always pays up the sacrifices it asks of whoever gets the short stick—in the form you most need, not want. Have an open mind and a pleasant disposition. Have faith. What goes around comes around. You’ll have your just desserts—in time.