Saturday, August 6, 2011

Column: 'Have your say' for The Courier Mail's Village Green

I wrote this earlier in the year, but it's funny, it seems all the more fitting that it was published now.

Anna Angel, Clayfield

AMONG the few early childhood memories I can recall is a family trip to Melbourne. As a kid from Nambour, the number of people shoving their way through the city centre floored me. On every intersection there were figures standing among the commotion, calling out. Mum seemed to be the only one who stopped. When I asked why nobody else saw them, she said it was because a lot of people aren't very nice. That's certainly turned out to be true. I just wish I didn't turn out to be one of them.

We're all guilty of compassion fatigue. This year especially, SES volunteers would have it something chronic, and a devastating sequence of natural disasters has stretched most of our donation budgets. We've all crossed the road to avoid someone wielding a clipboard, lest it's another damn charity. One thing we're supposed to be very good at as adults is being practical. We don't give away all our time or possessions and we no longer don a cape and try to fly (not often, anyway). But if you asked the five-year-old version of yourself whether they like who you've become, you're probably not going to like the answer.

Even if you're a pretty decent sort, we as ``grown-ups'' are boring, we make compromises and we can be awfully mean. I barely qualify as an adult in most cultures and I've already upset mini-me. I stared blankly past a homeless woman who asked politely for some change last week, because it was easier than meeting her eye. A handful of Hollywood movies centre on the premise of rediscovering your younger self but not many make for bearable viewing. It is interesting, though, to consider how differently we'd react at a crossroad if mature concerns such as money and duty didn't drive us. If you think your life would be much the same, congratulations.

In a year that's been as disaster-ridden as this one, there has never been a better time to step back and view the world through eyes that haven't yet learnt not to see. We can't regress to a naive mindset and damn the consequences, even if we want to. But we can promise our younger selves to do small things daily to please them, or to consider them in life's big decisions. And when the time comes for me to have kids of my own, I hope they'll forgive me for being such a bloody grown-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment