If I am not for others, what am I?
If not now, when?"
My initial reaction tends to be to scoff at the first line. It sounds like an excuse for selfishness, to me. I immediately jump to the second, and think how much more important that is, I focus on that and eventually make my way to the third line, only to think.. easier said than done.
I really thought my life would go better than this. I'm an intelligent person, a compassionate person, and when it comes to doing right by others, even a courageous person. When it comes to being for myself though, I am a simpleton and a coward. Not to suggest that I'm without selfishness, so much as that I'm pathologically terrible at it.
Maybe I scoff at the idea of prioritizing being for myself because it's foreign to me. I don't know how to live that way. I don't even know what it should mean to me. I can't even think of a damn thing I want in life, much of the time. I'm lonely, I just want to live, but that's about it.
I didn't think it would even matter so much, but sure enough, as I cannot be for myself, nor has anyone else. I know I'm not supposed to pick this saying apart the way I do. As I understand it, those three lines are placed together, in that order, for a reason. Maybe a better reason than I'd been inclined to consider.