Rich, a reader, writes —
I remember as a child, walking with my parents, how the world seemed to be a happy place. People would stop on the street and have ‘impromptu’ conversations. Neighbors would stop by ‘just because’ to see how we were doing. Complete strangers would offer a ‘hello’ and tip of the hat. The world was my oyster and the people in it all seemed to be happy with life.
Jump to the present.
Walking down the street, I utter a ‘hello’ only to hear a gruff incomprehensible response. Neighbors drive by and look the other way when I wave. Walking into a place to eat seems like a race to make sure that the person in front of me gets their table before I even enter the door. From my perspective, the world is ‘less happy’, or ‘angry’ if I can go so far.
So let’s look at the world through more objective eyes.
Considering myself a ‘glass is half-full’ type person, is the fact that people are less likely to respond in a positive manner a result of my projections into the world?
If our view of the world is a reflection of how we see ourselves, then I may be projecting how I actually feel and not how I “think” I feel. And, taking it a step further, is this based on my childhood experiences of growing up in a great neighborhood, and having grand expectations of the world around me?
On the other hand, if I am actually seeing the world objectively, then has the world really changed? And are people becoming more self-centered; more concerned about their own lives and situations than anything else around them?
With technological changes and the fact that we have less time to do more, is there simply not time to stop and chat, or offer a ‘hello’ and wave to a neighbor?
Thus, presently, is there now a certain frustration with life and with never being able to ‘smell the roses’ or ‘stop for some quality time’ that is causing people to become angrier?
I’m not sure on the answer. I do know that when I have those few glimpses of time someone does stop to say ‘hello’ or have an impromptu conversation, I feel better – and happier.
I only hope the other person does as well…
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I’ll bet you can relate with Rich’s introspection.
We may not have precisely the same disposition; we may not make the same attributions; but we all feel the spin of change, and we all experience its effects, no?
The world turns, and we age. As we age, we experience life; our circumstances change, our dispositions change … and we see a changed world.
As the world changes, we experience life; our circumstances change, our dispositions change … we change.
There is no denying the spin of change.
Nor the reflections.
My perception is so different. My parents weren’t overtly friendly and my father had a habit of alienating people. So, as a child, my world was nothing like Rich’s. Now, I often talk to people I don’t know (aside from my job), my neighbors, for the most part are friendly and likely to stop and talk. Sometimes think it’s because I genuinely like people and people respond to that. Or maybe, the world was like this all along, but my parents weren’t receptive.
I think it is both. Based on our choices in how we spend our time (previous blog), fellowship may fall to the wayside. When I choose to engage people (anywhere in the world), I find helpful, friendly, thoughtful people. When I withdraw into my busy schedule, people seem withdrawn and less open. All of that said, in the South, just try to pass a pickup truck on a country highway and not get a small wave 🙂