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Knowing me, knowing you

By Debbie Olujobi

Human evolution is not a static process, through the ages, man has physically evolved and remains in the process of evolution. From the Stone Age to the Iron Age, man has had to adapt to different situations that best supports the primal need to survive.

There is scientific proof that the current generation is taller than the one before and I daresay our own descendants will be taller than we are. Interesting or boring as that they may be, I am more concerned with the evolution of socio-cultural behavioural patterns in people through their lives. I hold the firm belief that everyone changes and that over the years we may be over four different persons and personalities. So, the question of the day is this; are you the same person you were 10 years ago? Can you identify multiple personalities at different times in yourself over the years?

These days, I often find myself surprised by my reactions and how strongly I find myself standing up for issues and situations that never bothered me before. I had gone to commiserate with a friend who was bereaved and I was surprised by someone saying that the house was Debbie’s idea of a nightmare!!

Not sure what to expect, I had made my way  with some trepidation and while the nightmare was a tad too strong a term; I did think that the owners were environmentally-irresponsible. I hadn’t realised I wore the badge of environmentalist and I thought given the information that is so freely available, we would all be more caring of the carbon footprints we are all stamping on the earth’s surface.

I don’t exactly qualify for a green peace badge, but apparently I am directly or indirectly responsible for most of my friends going green. Going green is a term that is applicable to anyone who chooses to be energy- efficient and leave life in a way that does not deplete the earth of its resources.

The most obvious one is the use of electricity; houses can use energy efficient bulbs and appliances that use electricity more efficiently; thereby causing less pollution, especially where they have to generate their own electricity. Living energy efficiently has the added bonus of reducing costs of living but even those of us who can afford not to worry about cost need to be more aware and responsible enough to use what we need and not flagrantly waste in a show of what is actually ignorance not affluence. I have apparently given this lecture many a time and was not even conscious of becoming what I suspect is a closet green crusader.

Lately, I have found myself exhibiting character traits that are almost alien to who I knew myself to be a few years back. One of my most annoying traits when I was younger was my total indifference to crusades and courses; my agenda was always survival by whatever means but the grown up me is a totally different ball game. I may have drifted unconsciously to being green but I have somehow evolved into a serial crusader of many courses and my seat on the board of several charities and empowerment groups are testaments.

I could excuse the crusading bit as a dividend of being more adult and responsible but lately I am also not as open and friendly as I used to be. A lady I liked had called me in the presence of a friend to complain about my intentionally withdrawn response to all overtures of friendship and I was appalled to have been responsible for someone else’s hurt feelings! I can’t claim to be the most exuberant person alive but I would not have described myself as withdrawn or aloof at all. Yet, within a month, my appraisal by those nearest and dearest is as a perfectionist who must have things done in a particular manner at all times. I was concerned enough to voice it out and someone I consider a true sage put it in perspective.

“You are definitely not the girl I knew you to be, but I like the woman you have become. You were a people-pleaser without a mind of your own; don’t apologise for having a mind of your own now, not everyone has to like you!!”

Was I comforted? Not really; while I don’t regret my behavioural growth and evolution; I would have liked the changes in my personality to have occurred consciously. As it is, I am sometimes at a loss to explain my passion for things that never bothered me when I was younger.

The younger me was like an excitable puppy; always happy, needing approval and affection all of the time; it is no surprise to find people thought me a people-pleaser.

The    older me, however, has had the benefit of wisdom acquired over the years to appreciate the values of talking less and listening more, to be prudent in my disbursement of affection and to stand up for my passions both old and new. In the course of my existence, I can identify at least three different personalities and I am of the opinion that my experience is not peculiar to me.

I am hoping to get the opinions of two people with incredible insight to agree or disagree with me and I will reach out during the week. (I would love to read opinions from  (800 words only) for publication in subsequent weeks)I am getting to know and even appreciate the new me; I hope you all take the time to know the new you


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