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Blackberry's avatar

Is it bad to not want a lot of responsibility in life?

Asked by Blackberry (29040 points ) December 29th, 2013

It seems that’s what we’re supposed to do as adults sometimes: work your way up a ladder and take on more responsibilities at your job, get a house, a kid, and a pet to take care of etc.

How are most people not overwhelmed by all this stuff? Let’s hear your thoughts.

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16 Answers

chyna's avatar

My dad died when I was 17 and my mom completely broke down for years over it so I was thrown into a life of responsibility that I was not ready for. Although I loved my mom very much, I was very resentful of the role I had to play my entire life. She was a very needy person and I had to take care of everything for her from shopping to making her doctor appointments to taking her to all of them.
I really never got to be the care free college student or just really went one week without thinking or worrying about my mom.
I would have liked my life to have been a little more care free at least in my early 20’s, but that wasn’t how things worked out for me.

gailcalled's avatar

Choose how much and what kinds of responsibilities fit your particular psyche. Who decides what a lot is? Having or not having pets, kids, owning or not owning a house, working your way up, down or sideways on the job ladders is a personal choice and neither good nor bad.

johnpowell's avatar

I am pretty much as old as you can get without being homeless and having barely any responsibility.

Freelance work that I barely ever do since I have no children, no car, no wife, and cheap rent. I have four bills I need to remember to pay a month. Rent, Internet, electric, and hosting. And those don’t add up to much.

I only have enough dishes where that if I want food I have to wash what was dirty from the last time I ate. I’m going on a week without any pressing issue that couldn’t wait until after the new years.

I watched movies all day. My biggest concern today was taking a shower and I still haven’t managed to do that.

zenvelo's avatar

It’s not bad, it’s not good. There’s a big difference between not taking on responsibility, and avoiding responsibility. Not taking it on is at least honest and saying it would deb too much for one’s psyche. Avoiding it is just delaying the inevitable disaster that could have been avoided by accepting what you must.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with what @gailcalled & @zenvelo say. Neither a good/bad – right/wrong dichotomy. It is all personal preference. I have no problem taking responsibility for a home or pets but I don’t want to be responsible for a relationship or having to work 60 hours a week.

It’s not about how much or how little responsibility you wish to take on, as long as your not making others responsible for you do what you want and piss on the rest.

cookieman's avatar

My father was really good at his job. So much so, that he was put up for a promotion numerous times over the years. Each and every time, he turned them down. Didn’t want the responsibility. Didn’t want the extra work. So, he stayed in the same position for 30+years.

One day he complained to me that he was disappointed that, at his age, he didn’t have more money, a nicer house, or had been able to travel.

I let him go on for about ten minutes until I reminded him of the numerous promotions he turned down.

So sure, less responsibility is fine – just be sure you’re okay with less of everything else as well.

or marry rich

johnpowell's avatar


“One day he complained to me that he was disappointed that, at his age, he didn’t have more money, a nicer house, or had been able to travel.”

Maybe he regretted having children…

funkdaddy's avatar

I think a lot of times those pressures don’t come from ourselves and that’s why they’re painted as good or bad. Whether it’s parents, family, or a significant other it’s usually someone close enough to us that we care about their opinion and understand our choices can affect them, but we have to decide at what point we need to be in control of our own decisions and the life they create. If we decide not to take on the responsibility, that can be seen as selfish or childish, and against their wishes, so often taken as bad. Even if it brings us more happiness.

I think you have to look at motivation in that situation. Is the person looking out for you or trying to help you learn from their mistakes and regrets? If so, then that’s a great time to look at your direction and decide if you’re truly happy with where you’re headed. How sure are you? You don’t necessarily have to change, but look out 10 or 20 years and see if you’re still happy renting your house, or not having kids, or in your current job. If so, awesome, one less thing to worry about, tell them you’ve got it under control. If you’re not happy with that future, then it’s a great time to start looking at alternatives.

On the other hand if someone is trying to get you to take responsibility so they don’t have to, or for other reasons that have nothing to do with your well being, then I think that’s a good realization too. If your parents want you to have kids so they can have grandkids, that’s not really their decision to make. If your partner wants you to work towards the big promotion so you can improve your shared quality of life, that’s a little tougher, but ultimately you have to work the job. Is the total change worth it?

It’s a lot easier to take on and keep up with responsibility when it’s your own decision and those choices are some of the ones that really define what kind of life we have and the connections we maintain. I can’t remember regretting a decision that felt natural at the time, even if I gave up a lot for it, and if it didn’t work out like I wanted. So I try to make sure the responsibilities I take on at this point are my choice, and that makes maintaining them so much easier.

When you think about it that way, choices become easier. If you’re excited about a job, pet, house, or kid… do it. If you’re not excited, but it will make you happy, do it as long as it makes you happy (realize kids and pets don’t go away). Anything else better be a really short sacrifice for someone who deserves it.

Blackberry's avatar

@funkdaddy My thoughts as well. We face some external pressures to have certain things, or be at a certain status by a certain age and sometimes we’re only doing it to compete with others or make them happy.

I guess moderation is the key, like always. I can’t blame someone for thinking I’m wasting potential, but if I’m happy why keep striving.

glacial's avatar

You absolutely do not have to get a house, or a kid, or a pet. It is totally fine to be just you, or just you plus whomever you want to be attached to. If you feel like you’re being pushed into any more than you want, you should probably not do it.

Coloma's avatar

Personally I think pop psychology has gone too far the last couple decades with its incessant push for some perpetual state of growth. Everything has its cycles, and this obsession with constant growth is unrealistic as well as oppressive. The natural cycles of human growth and maturation come in waves, not a steady stream. You hit a growth wave, ride it for a few years then integrate and assimilate.

I know at 54 now I am sick of feeling pressure to keep performing/growing at increasingly advanced levels, however the fuck it shows up. Continued learning on my own terms is a given due to my knowledge seeking personality, but, don’t tell me I need to be running marathons at 80 or going back to school to earn my PhD. This insane push to never stop growing is getting out of control if you ask me.

Aspoestertjie's avatar

You take on as much responsibility as you please. If you don’t want any, you don’t have to take it. It does however play a role in how people will see you and whether they will put you in any positions of trust. Being responsible doesn’t have to mean that all fun in life comes to an end. It can be fun to have children and it is nice to know there are someone who loves you and cares for you because you take responsibility for their well being.

KNOWITALL's avatar

All I can say is that later in life, thing’s start making sense so you feel like it’s the thing to do.

Why pay rent when you can own? Why make car payments when you can fix up your car that’s paid off? Why live with someone when you can get married and reap several benefits?

We did choose not to have children though, and I don’t regret it in the slightest.

From one Freebird to another, responsiblity isn’t really that bad, it can feel good to be a responsible adult. I was raised by hippies basically, and I craved the stability of paying my own bills, earning my own money, etc… and ended up a slight control freak because of the lack of control I had as a child. You just have to find out what makes you happy and try to attain that.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Blackberry it may not be bad in itself, it all comes down to your self esteem – can you live an easy life AND ignore the pressure from your environment to take on more responsibility. If you’re fine with where you are and are immune to said pressure, what else do you want to hear?

Otherwise you (are starting to) feel the pressure and feel the conflict between having reached your optimal level of achievement, and society’s (inflated, and often ridiculous) expectations of you. In this case I would suggest stepping back, getting some perspective… I turn to zen and it helps me relax, and ignore my environment.

It’s your life first and foremost, and unless you make a stand to define who you are and what you are about, people will try and force their worldview on you. Hell they will try and do it even if you tell them to bugger off. For the most part you are the only person who can truly know yourself and what you need. Ignore others, and look inside yourself (grasshopper :P)


the fremen

talljasperman's avatar

I would only take on responsibility if it paid off in the long run… When I was skipping high school I was in the library doing research paper’s for Biology and Psychology. I don’t usually attend class if I can learn on my own because I call my teachers and professors on their bullshit, so I found that I get higher marks when I learn on my own and check in with my teacher every so often. I would still want to go to university, but I would have to overcome my need to entertain and challenge the teacher.

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