Coming into high school is a tough time for a lot of people, many times you have to go to a new school, the curriculum gets tougher, and you can potentially grow apart from those you once called your friends. This was how it was for me, throughout my life I went through 3 schools, first I went to an elementary/middle school up until 6th grade, but I thought I hated it there (hindsight is 20/20) so I wanted to go to a new school. I went to a new school for 7th and 8th grade and boy did I end up regretting it. In my second school I had a lot of issues, there was emotional issues from things going on in my family that I was only just becoming able to understand, and there was personality clashes between me and other people who went to that school, the end result was me being in a shaky friend group that kind of had me as the token kid who was there cause they felt bad for me, but I just wanted friends so bad to try to fill the hole I left by switching schools. In a few words my 7th and 8th grade years were really freakin bad, some days I even stayed home because it was all I could do to keep from breaking down and crying from stress. I didn’t end up staying there for High School, and went on to my third and final school.
Now, you would expect that my same emotional problems would carry over, that I would be afraid of being bullied, and that it would be an all around nightmare. But I finally developed into my more mature self and developed a mindset that helped get me through it. I don’t care. That sounds like a terrible philosophy in principle, those three little words make me sound like those slackers who end up working in fast food for the rest of their lives, desperately working two jobs to support a family they mistakenly had that only ended up sending them into a downward spiral of debt, but that’s not what they mean to me. To me those three words mean that the world will go on, that nothing bad is going to happen as long as I do care when it actually matters. “Hey Michael I think you're a fat piece of garbage”.
“Hey guy, you’re probably right about half of that, but I don’t care what insults you have to sling at me because they don’t mean anything, I don’t care.” But of course, this would not have been my response if I was my pre-high school self, my pre-high school self would have probably dwelled on it for weeks before finally exploding into a fit of rage and sadness that got me sent to the disciplinary office again, only to tell the teacher that I only acted the way I did because I was bullied by them, but when I tried to provide evidence anyone I called in would take their side because they liked them more than me.
“Hey Michael, you’re the dumb kid in class and you shouldn’t be here.”
“I disagree with you, but I have nothing to prove to you, I don’t care.” Maybe this is just what is known as having “thick skin”, I wouldn’t know I never had it before highschool if it is, but even if it is just being able to take insults there is more that this mindset of mine has saved me from. Before High School nobody liked me so I never had the chance to be one of those kids who had a girlfriend, and at risk of sounding edgy I was fine with that because I had much bigger things going on with myself than needing somebody to “love”, a word I still don’t quite fully understand to this day. But moving on to High School I see people in all of these overdramatic relationship cycles, getting together, one or both people regretting it, breaking up, and falling in love again. This I don’t care mindset saved me so far from having to worry about this, and I have to admit its pretty great not needing to constantly walk through that minefield, good luck to everyone else with their endeavors of course but as for me I don’t care!
Besides social aspects of my wonderful policy of apathy when it comes to things that don’t actually matter it also helps with academic aspects. No, don’t worry I don’t mean skip all of your work and goof off, I do care about succeeding in school and getting to the eventual future that I want for myself, but I don’t care about over stressing myself out over my work, I know what I need to do to succeed and I do that. I will admit using the whole not caring thing to stop myself from stressing out made things worse in the long run in some cases, I did definitely have my struggles with figuring that out, hwever I decided one day to sit down and figure out what I wanted to do and focus on that, to care about. I don’t get completely non stressed, because you need some stress in life to actually be healthy, a complete “everything is irrelevant maaan” mindset will not get you anywhere in life and is frankly, irresponsible.
Now you might think from what you have read so far that I have a profound disinterest in other people, but that could not be any further from the truth, I don’t care about anything they try to do to hurt me, but at the same time that helps me not care about other things that can make a person bigoted. I don’t care about your skin color or gender, you are a human being and that is all that matters, I do care about your rights as a person, and if somebody else deliberately attacks you I will defend you, because I know that not everyone has my philosophy, sometimes words can harm you, and I won’t just sit by and let that happen.
Some people love me, some people hate me, I can be pretty disagreeable at times, and I love to argue, not necessarily because I care about the topic but I do care about friendly conversation. You can’t ever know exactly what to expect from another person and it is always interesting to see what lies under the surface, I love to try to find out what is under the layer you normally see, sometimes you find out that the person you thought you knew all this time is actually completely different than you ever knew I care about what someone truly wants and I try not to let them just brush me off when they truly want help, I care, I care a lot and I want to help. On the surface I am “the funny guy” you might not even know there is more to me, I jokingly ask my teachers if I can go home, even though there is no place I would rather be than right there in the classroom. I might seem as deep as a cup of water at first glance, but if you do care to look deeper you find a different person you find that I went through hardships to become who I am and that sometimes all I want is a shoulder to lean on. But you have to care enough to find that out.
I suppose “apathy is my policy” isn’t necessarily fully accurate, because in some cases I care more than anyone else you will ever know, but I think other people should try it in the way I described, care about what you can affect and what actually affects you, care about your significant other if you have one, and care about other people. But don’t care about that racial slur someone said to you the other day, don’t care about the misogynistic/misandrist (yes it happens to men too) comment that someone said to you. Don’t care about the fact that the project you worked hard on might somehow get a bad grade, as long as you did care when you were working on it and gave it your all. Don’t care that some people in the world might not like you but do care to make an effort to make people like you. It may be confusing at first but just ask yourself as you go throughout your life “Do I care right now, and should I?” I promise you that you can be much happier than you are now, even if you are already happy.