Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thinking About The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

You may have read The Metamorphosis by Kafka in high school or college. I don't know why but something made me think about the story today. Specifically the ending, although the beginning means something too.

If you're not familiar with the story, here is a link so you can read it:">

The basic story is that Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to discover he is now a large bug. He's worried because he's the sole support in the family. It's been causing him a lot of stress. Now he's worried because hey, he's a bug. How is he going to care for his parents and his sister?

How many of us do this to ourselves? We burn out, possibly even getting sick (although hopefully not turning into bugs) because we don't give ourselves the time we need to recharge our batteries. We all need some respite, some vacation, sometimes.

Yes, sometimes things are for a season. Children won't be small forever. Puppies will eventually be house trained and they will stop chewing the furniture.
People will come and go at work, creating their own challenges. But we still need that respite at times. Moms, you need to take advantage of Mother's Day Out programs and weekly babysitters. We need to sometimes put the puppy in its crate while we cry over our chewed shoes. We need to focus on the good things at work, but nothing is wrong with using your vacation days and not checking in at the office.

It's okay to love yourself.

Back into the story now. Gregor's family discovers what happened. They begin taking care of him but they are concerned about money too. What are they going to do? Well, some changes have to take place. The three of them got jobs and they took in two boarders to help pay the bills. While things were a struggle at first - figuring out how to do things they'd always depended on Gregor to do - they eventually started doing well.

While it seemed at first Gregor's change was a bad thing - I'm sure it was to him - the rest of the family finally had to make some changes in themselves. Once Gregor got out of the way and stopped taking responsibility for them, they had to take responsibility for themselves.

There has to come a point in life when we finally say, okay, enough. Some may say it's selfish of us to do this, but we have to say I'm going to live my dream. I'm going to make a choice. That may mean changing in a radical way - moving, quitting a job, getting a divorce, getting married, starting a business, writing a novel during lunch breaks and after dinner. It means doing whatever it takes to live your dreams. That may mean telling someone, no, I'm sorry, I can't do that. And that feels wrong to so many of us. Aren't we supposed to be helpful?

But if we don't love ourselves, if we don't take the time to recharge our own batteries, if we don't do something to love ourselves, what will we become? Do we want to be the dead bug in the storage room or do we want to take the morning off work, enjoy a spring day and find the good in our lives?

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