A family is like a life-long mirror. You see yourself reflected in your parents, your siblings, your sibling’s children. Family traits tend to surface every now and then on family gatherings, and you suddenly see a trait you never realised you had. Reflected, and in your face, right there in the mirror. This happened to me yesterday.
Apathy, indifference to the world around you and the people in it, seems to be more common in modern society where violent news clips form the daily wallpaper in our homes and abundance makes us disinterested. At least, that was my explanation for my own occasional detached behaviour. After all, my most quoted motto is “Don’t know, don’t care“.
But yesterday, at a family gathering for Father’s Day, I took a long hard look in the mirror and discovered I have inherited some kind of familial apathy. The present I bought was “nice“, my new girlfriend looked “nice” in the pictures I showed (and I can assure you that she looks a lot better than nice even through non-pink glasses), and a preprint of the chapter I wrote for a new book to be published in the autumn (in fact, my first claim to fame as an actual non-fiction author) was flipped through and handed back to me without any comment whatsoever by five of my relatives. The only comment my nephew came up with, was: “Did you make all that up yourself then?” The only thing I could mutter was “Uhm, well, it’s a non-fiction book actually, it’s all true.” It didn’t lift his lacking admiration.
My family has never been one where inflated egos can flourish. Any sign of blooming arrogance is immediately nipped in the bud. It’s actually one of my family’s most commendable features. But this earthliness seems to have slowly but surely evolved into complete apathy for each other. So I have decided to crack the mirror and cast the chains of heredity. Hurray! So take a long hard look into your own mirror, and join me in my quest to become an irreclaimable optimist. 🙂 Let’s hope a gene therapy treatment is discovered soon for familial apathy.