Back when I was in elementary school, and I might have been around 10 years old, I had a couple of friends with whom I would spend some time around school in-between classes. One of our favorite things to do in recesses, like any other child, was to go to a store and get some candy. We had a particular store crossing the street owned by this man that would make pretty much of his finances thanks to the school nearby, so he was really kind to all of us.
Around that time as well, one particular “candy” (if you can call it that) was popular. They were called Jaimitos (ha-ee-me-toh, translates to “little Jamies”? ugh), and they were basically frozen juices in a bag that you’d slurp out of it to get refreshed and drink some. I honestly can’t remember if that’s the real name, or that’s just how we would call them. The design was not particularly appealing: it was literally a plastic back that you’d puncture on one side and from there you’d suck the blood out of it. Since it was frozen, you could not get out all of it immediately, so you’d be entertained for a while.
This particular day I was buying some of those with a close friend I had. He had some spare money so he payed one of those for me. The store clerk gave them to him, and he handed one to me. I took it in my right hand, and even before he had finished paying, I was passing it to my left hand since it was freezing me down to the bone.
While we were walking away, I mentioned this as a random thought and a conversation starter.
“Doesn’t it freeze your hand?”, I asked.
“Yes, but I don’t care.”, he replied uninterested.
Silence invaded me, as I had this kind of life-changing epiphany. It never occurred to me that it was a choice for someone to not care about stuff. Could you just do that? This opened so many possibilities for me. So many things in the world that could worry me and I could just choose some of them and not care. Of course, I was a child at the moment, so this didn’t have great implications at the time, but the thought stuck around.
Decades later, it still invades me sometimes. Sometimes it is a temptation, to decide to neglect particular situations that affect me. Sometimes it is a self-inspecting doubt, whether I am ignoring the right situations and actively caring about the ones I should.
I did mention in a previous post how I consider really important to have knowledge management as something in your life. (If you can read Spanish, you can read that post, or if not, let me know so I’ll translate it.) But as a sidenote to that very same post, I think it is really important to decide what you’ll ignore, and what you’ll neglect. Both from a mental and emotional point of view. Make it a choice, and own up to it.
We know we have limited time and limited energy to deal with the world, so if we don’t take such decisions, they’ll be taken for us. And it turns out, it has always been our choice.
In a way, I’m drinking that Jaimito up to this day.