A few days ago I performed a somewhat random act of kindness. I sent personal cards and something small to people I knew and to whom I had not spoken to in over a year. People, who I thought I was cordial with and people I respected. I did this as I, perhaps in my warped mind, thought it was a nice gesture and a reconnection of sorts.
However unlike the people I regularly communicate with, not a single person reached out to say “Thank You”…or even a “Hey, hope you are well, too”. I mentioned this to someone who commented that perhaps the recipients found it a “touch odd” and that people are “weirded out by people being nice”. I understand we are all busy but how long does it take in today’s smartphone, always-online world? Not long, right?
To be honest, it really upsets me. Yes, I may be more sensitive than usual but since when did my generation become so jaded. Since when did a a “thank you” become such an effort? When I know they have access to my email..at the very least.
Yes, I’ve been taken aback by certain gestures or compliments from people – I’ll be the first to admit it – yet I, and I may be wrong, but I have never not expressed my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. I guess it goes back to what individuals find appreciative. I would have loved that gesture – something personal from someone I have not been in contact with. Then again I am a bit of a freak who appreciates someones time, words and gestures over material articles. Hell, I once gave back something very expensive because I felt it was not a heartfelt gesture.
An insightful friend and I were chatting about the situation later – I needed to get it off my chest and ask if I was over-reacting. Now she may have not been the best person to ask as we are quite similar, and she, too, was alarmed. She warned me not to see myself as the problem (which is my default mode) but as a lesson learnt about people.
Intellectually I understand that completely yet when did this happen?
When did we fail to acknowledge one another?
When did we see compassion, kindness, humanity and friendship as weaknesses and odd?
When did we get weirded out by it?
When did a single re-connection note become an ulterior motive?
How did we become so jaded against each other?
When did a tragedy have to occur for us to value others?
It seems and feels as though people who – to coin a term from the Vampire Diaries franchise – “switch off their humanity” (cos, really – that is what we as a collective generation have done) flourish and succeed while those who try to be good people (side note: I… by no means say I am a good person but I can say I try) and care about others are the same ones caught in this unforgiving struggle of an existence where people are disregarded as easily as a used tissue?
The most pivotal question being…do I want to live in a world such as this?
In light of this post I do want to take the time to thank a handful of incredible humans for being such loving, kind, compassionate and beautiful people and for truly making the world a better place to all who know you.