A is for Apathy

“Apathy: Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.”

Way back when, my friend told me that one of the things about me that annoyed her was my indifferent attitude to everything. I didn’t really care about things that she thought were important. I also happened to believe in brutal honesty, so whenever she asked me a question I would normally answer with a very truthful answer – something that she did not really appreciate. Apparently white lies are a thing and people should use them at their own discretion.

It wasn’t just my friend. My mother would always nag me for not being interested in basically everything. Why don’t you run for class president? Why don’t you write for the school newsletter? Why don’t you get more involved in different clubs? It was just a nearly-constant wave of reproofs and suggestions that didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I didn’t do a lot of things because I wasn’t interested and well, I couldn’t be bothered to.

Sometimes I just sit down at my desk and stare at a blank sheet of paper and think about how utterly bored and useless I feel. Don’t worry, I’m not depressed. I wouldn’t know if I were, to be perfectly honest. It’s just that everything remotely interesting seems out of my league and the things that I can do don’t seem to have anything appealing. Most things seem to turn lackluster and fade into varying shades of grey.

It’s just that sometimes, I just feel like I’m not feeling, if that makes sense. It feels like the emotions I feel and the thoughts I’m thinking don’t seem to go down to where a heart or a conscience is, but lingers on the surface. It’s as if I’m only skimming the surface of experiences. It gets to a point in which you start to question this apathy – is it healthy? Is it normal? Is it just something I’m going to have to get used to? Is it because I’m no longer a child and therefore I don’t react to sensations the way I used to? All of these questions crop up at random places at random times, but I don’t know any of the answers to them. Even after a while, these questions lose their new, interesting quality and just fade into the back of my mind.

Apathy isn’t never a good thing, I know. Apathy makes you listless – makes you a slave to inaction. Why would you bother to act for a cause when you just couldn’t bring yourself to care? People are talking about the increasing apathy of students towards politics and other social issues: back in the day, they say, students used to be the ones leading revolutions and riots. Now? We’re probably more worried about what formatives we have to do, what we’re going to eat for dinner, how drunk we’re going to get on a night out. People think that we’re apathetic to everything that seems important – maybe we’re too focused on thinking about things that are right in front of us. Not being interested in politics is not ideal, of course; these are issues that are directly related to us. But how can one be interested in the matters of the world when you can’t even deal with the more realistic things that are thrust upon you?

I think we start to grow apathetic towards things because we don’t want to get hurt. That’s different from not caring. If you care, it means you have to invest your time and feelings into something or someone. Caring is a lot more work than people think it is. After a while, when you feel like all of that effort is not showing or not actually making a difference, you start to question. Is this a good thing? Is caring actually going to help anything? You then proceed to grow a sort of armour around yourself and your feelings, not letting anything pierce it. I don’t see how that can be an entirely bad thing. It does make you feel like a cold-hearted individual sometimes, but everything comes at a price.

I always tell myself that I should care more. I should care about getting breakfast. I should care about seeing my friends more than a few hours a day. I should, I should, I should. Then I just start thinking: why? When I realise that the question will always go unanswered, I cease caring. I think that’s like that for everything else. Sometimes you just can’t be bothered to be carrying the weight of the world’s problems on your shoulders. How can you, when you can’t even carry your own?

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