By Momodou Ndow
Life can separate us, sometimes for decades. We all have people in our lives/past we haven't seen for the longest time; whether we went to grade school with them, lived in the same neighborhood, or we are related to them. And in the time that we are separate, for whatever reason, life continues to unfold. Depending on the environment we find ourselves in and the people we interact with, our perspectives may be different. Our environment has a major influence in shaping our lives and outlook. Where we live and the people around us are very critical in forming our world view and tailoring our attitude. Although we are now connected through social media, the connection is only “virtual” and not the same as living in the same environment and physically interacting.
Often times, we claim to still know people when we have not seen them in 20 or 30 years based on our interaction as kids or adolescences some decades ago, even though we now live in different environments and are surrounded by different people. A lot of growth and evolution can happen in 10 years, let alone 20 or 30 years.
Folks generally claim to know someone they haven seen or interacted with much in 20 or 30 years, judging them based on their interactions (however minimal) from decades ago. Saying something like “I know him/her, we went to primary school together”, “I know him/her, we lived in the same city”, or “I know him/her, we lived in the same neighborhood.” All this may be true, but you still cannot judge someone based on that. Unless life has been stagnant for them, you probably don’t know their mind-set and way of thinking. You may know of them or knew them in the past, but that’s not the same as knowing them as a person.
For the most part, we sometimes tend to measure a person’s capabilities, attitude, mind-set, or temperament based on the past, when decades have gone by without interacting with them. We claim to know them and we judge them, all founded on who we think they are or should be. We are quick to bring up someone’s past and use it as a yardstick to measure them today. “Hai, kee kange lafi? Kee nga hamneh neekinaa sambata njie.” And it’s usually negative too. But even if the negative is true, that may no longer be the case. People do transcend adversities.
My people can be extremely judgmental and malicious sometimes, and it is mostly baseless; and it tends to adversely impact our chance to get to know each other. If you knew someone 20 or 30 years ago, chances are they are not the same person today. They may have evolved for better or worst, who knows, but take the time to find out before passing judgment. In addition, we all think different and sometimes value different things too, and that's also something to consider. So do not judge, or you too will be judged. Take the time to know people instead, rather than believe what you hear about them or measure them with an old yardstick.