The author talks about his experience in dealing with the rapid changes in the society.
“Our life was much better! I wish things would go back to how they were before.” A sentence I have always heard not only from my parents but also from other elderly people in the family whenever they want to express their dissatisfaction with the changes modern life brought to our society.
I have to admit that throughout my childhood, I didn’t understand their concerns about the rapid changes in the society. Everything around me seemed to be going well, and I have asked myself many times, ‘What is wrong with our life?’. Today, we have cars, roads, schools and hospitals, while twenty or thirty years ago many of our modern life elements didn’t exist. So why are they not happy? What is wrong with our life today? It is definitely better.
Growing up, I recall my parents’ resistance to change becoming even stronger. They kept on reminding me that life in the past was much better than today. As a result I became fearful of change and was more convinced that our society and lifestyle were much better before than today. This belief became evident in my lifestyle and in my writing. To the point that I started acting like an old person.
I didn’t know whether “You are wise for your age” was a compliment or a warning that I’m growing old too fast. Everything around me was changing too fast, but I was holding onto the past, or at least the past as relayed to me by my parents and relatives.
It was not until I completed my psychometric test, as part of a career development exercise, that I realized my resistance to change. The test revealed that I was a person who doesn’t accept change easily. When my coach explained the results, I began evaluating my past actions. I realized that I missed out on many opportunities to make a difference in my life and my career due to my unwillingness to change. From that moment onwards, I decided to look at change more positively and embrace it easily. Yes, the present has its challenges, but it is not as bad as I was portraying it or how it was being portrayed to me.
Today, I can understand why my parents didn’t like the changes in our society. Yes, our social life is not as good as it was, we don’t know our neighbors and we don’t keep in touch with our relatives, but that should not stop us from appreciating the positive impact of change and development in the society since the formation of the UAE’s union in 1971.
Our founding fathers had hope and a vision for the betterment of the society. When the opportunity came, they embraced it and worked hard to bring positive change to the country. We wouldn’t be celebrating our accomplishments today if they were not willing to change. Yes, we may have lost many wonderful traditions due to this rapid change, but that should not act as a barrier in the path of our development. Those traditions are now held in high respect and are slowly being revived and still very much appreciated.
May Allah protect the UAE and its people.
Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration. His abstract passion for history and literature with a hint of photography adds to his noble enduring quality. Abdulla enjoys visiting museums, art exhibitions and likes to spend his spare time in the outdoors. His column “Emirati Reflections” is a mixture of stories from the past and insights of the present, which blend together and formulate his understanding of the UAE’s culture.