As Kierkegaard said, the demands of the ‘ethical phase’ of life are unlimited. And they lead ultimately to failure and despair.
But perhaps not. Five minutes is also long enough to clear your thoughts, take a breath and change the internal weather. A smile, a shrug, a stoical thought and a moment’s reflection before marching on.
It all gets done, and if the demands are unlimited, the rewards are too – a big hug from a small child, a smile of thanks from a good person you’ve helped and the sense of being appreciated, needed and loved.
As the philosopher king and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations:
The only rewards of our existence here are an unstained character and unselfish acts.
It’s not all bad meeting the insatiable needs of others, so long as you save the odd five minutes for yourself.