We're all involved in a lot of things. We have friends, family, a job, and hobbies that all need some time and energy to sustain. People need attention and small gestures before they develop trust; an employer looks for hard work and results before they see loyalty; and hobbies need your passion and drive to grow into something, even when nobody is forcing it.
We put a little of ourselves into all these things, every time we get involved.
Hopefully, though, that process gives back as well. What once took discipline and self-motivation to build will come to inspire us. Unfortunately, that's not always what happens. A lot of times, friends and family can let us down, or we'll be disappointed at work. Hobbies can trickle down into nothing. This is the easiest moment, at least for me, to think about walking away.
There is another thing we can do instead. It takes a lot of unglamorous maturity and patience, but we can do it. We can recognize that, with time, we'll rebuild whatever seems like it came crashing down. Chances are, we'll also realize not that much was lost anyway.
Getting involved is crucial, but especially when it comes to things that become freckled with your own identity. Both the good and bad will color us in ways we could never predict. It's like one of my favorite philosophers said:
"What's thrown on top of the conflagration is absorbed, consumed by it - and makes it burn still higher."