We South Africans talk a lot. We look for the best in others. When they fall short of our ideals, we feel it helps to point out the errors of their ways.
The results are predictable. We are often and quickly offended.
Life is predictable. No matter what we know to be correct, some people will disagree. Instead of trying to set everyone onto our right path, why not let them be?
Some people are not pleasant. Let them be.
Some people drive like scurrying ants. Let them be.
Some people vote for the wrong party. Let them be.
Some people behave like buttock apertures. Let them be.
We meet people like this each day. Angry, ignorant, unskilled, or uncaring. Why worry? Why destroy our serenity because others can’t find theirs?
By the same token, why not accept we can’t always live up to the high standards we hold for ourselves.
That’s life. It’s not as entertaining as a TV show or Cape Talk. The daily grind is the norm. And a lot less draining. Why destroy our composure because others can’t find theirs?
We get offended by COVID. The lockdowns, the disease, the Chinese, the vaccinations, no travel, some travel, or too much travel. Pick any opinion, and we’ll find plenty of people who want to weigh in against ours. Yet, none of us knows enough about most things to hold fixed views about anything.
Mark Corke kindly sent me a copy of an East Rand Express article dated October 12, 1918. It was about the Spanish Influenza Epidemic. (It was on the same page as an article about his great grandfather retiring.)
I quote, “At the local chemist’s, there has been a tremendous run on quinine and aspirin tablets.” And, “The best way to avoid Spanish influenza is to have plenty of fresh air and keep the doors and windows open.”
That kind of advice led to between 20 million and 50 million people dying over 26 months from the Spanish flu. That’s 2.7% of the 1.8 Billion world population in 1918. (10% of the 500 Million affected.)
I think we’re doing somewhat better than the previous crowd. Does it matter if someone doesn’t agree? Does it matter what their reasons are? Let them be.
As I basked in the morning sun earlier, I realised how few of my fears these past 63 years occurred. And how many times I was wrong.
Be kind to yourself today and every tomorrow. Life is much too short to fight battles we don’t need to.