Life, as we know it

Life, as we know it

It’s inevitable that we all mellow out as we age. We become more relaxed and it’s much easier to let things go. That tormenting fire inside — substituted by calmness — seems to die down as we head towards death.

I’ve turned a year older recently and that’s exactly how I feel about my personality.

I used to be hot-headed, argumentative and, to a certain extent, self righteous, as well as egotistic. I had my aggressive values and I held onto them for dear life, but time has taught me that standing up sometimes means standing down. You have to pick your battles to win the war of life.

All of this I’ve known and been told for years, but once it happens there’s this unexplainable sense of contentment — you’re able to laugh at things that would have aggravated you so much in the past. I’d like to think that this realisation is one of the best things about getting more wrinkles and not being able to hold down your drinks as well.

For quite some time now, I’ve been mulling over this mentality change and whether it’s a good thing. Of course, there are many positive points of emotional maturity, but then
I wonder whether I’m trading off that feisty fire for complacency and indifference towards certain aspects of life.

I used to feel strongly about unnecessarily evil acts done on other people. I used to get offended for friends who were mistreated. I used to detest power-mongering bastards.
I used to hate evilness with every fibre of my being and I used to make myself heard as to my thoughts of those devils who wore Platinum Prada.

But of late, I’ve turned into a “none of my business” kind of woman, as long as that evilness doesn’t touch my skin. Don’t get me wrong, if I see an act of extreme, criminal evilness like public spousal or child abuse or thievery, I will step in and help the best I can, but we live in a world where sick people are covered in jewellery and cufflinks. Evilness has never been transparent, and now it’s certainly more difficult to decipher as social masks move as quickly as technology and governmental budget allocations.

With my nosy, observational skills, I know who possesses a good heart and who doesn't. I used to make my skills heard while trying to bring those people down. But now I rely on maturity to let them be, as long as they don’t bother me. I’m wondering if that’s the way
I want to carry on for the rest of my life.

Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that, by disassociation, I’ve done enough and I have no power to stop them. I’ve been taught that every little action counts. But why should I say something; why not others? Or if I take vengeful actions, would I be stooping down to those evil people’s level?

As I’m going through this mental anguish and moral irreconcilability,
a coin flips.  It's as though, when I’m facing true evilness, those who know me very well are not affected and cannot be bothered. I’m not one who cries for help and I understand people have different perceptions of different things. It’s surely not their fault that they don’t step in, but I’d like to think that an act of acknowledgement of others' suffering goes a long way. Then again, haven’t I been doing the same? Haven’t I lazily allowed evilness to wreak havoc without standing my ground in fear of relapsing into my angry, overly idealistic younger self?

So what to do? Does maturity mean running away? Does it mean sympathising and empathising from afar? Or does it actually mean a bold act of controlled chivalry for which you will somehow end up paying the price?

But I am certain over one thing — that ruthless, scheming evilness is having a field day when we let it slide by.

I guess growing old gracefully is attainable, but is growing old without compromising your lifelong values possible?


Onsiri Pravattiyagul writes about music and contemporary culture for Life.

Onsiri Pravattiyagul

Entertainment Editor

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