You know how crucial it is that you get some sleep on this flight. Take-offs last forever. Raised window shades, upright seats are challenges that have long stopped existing for you. Of course, you want to hang on to the fading tranquil from that last glass of red at the lounge. Not just diurnal, you practically command the circadian rhythms of the world around you. You Love this, but you refuse to concede.
You don’t eat, drink, talk, sleep, slouch, even read without a plan or context. You design your days and yet fail terribly at getting that nagging hum of a song from the 90s out of your head. You are carrying the weight of new businesses, peoples’ fortunes, jobs, dreams, and worries. Yet nothing stops if you stop, or does it? No, it doesn’t. Don’t flatter yourself.
Aren’t you swinging around that invisible pivot where day changes to night, cities change their silhouettes, people change their native tongue, and your age, no wait! You outrun your age and catch up with your younger self every day. You run on pristine beaches, along cliff edges, across woods, around volcanoes, inside a swanky gym overlooking the Pyrenees.
You don’t miss home, and that doesn’t startle you. There have been times you have felt more at home in places you frequent, and you were almost ashamed of yourself. You believe in God, yes you do. But do you ever pray? You have met with unexpected and unfamiliar attachment out of the blue. Feeling defenseless in the face of such gratuitous torment of feelings and emotions, you chose to leave all that warmth and affection far behind. Long after, in that lonely summer evening, with some left-over time between conferences, while you strolled alone in that picture-perfect European town wondering how to fit into this perfection, you wished that estranged someone sat next to you by the rippling river and both of you chatted and smoked cigarettes, for the first time since college.
In your metaverse, you are the ultimate idler. Your virtual avatar will win at every game of tricking time and idling through life. Then why does in your real life, during weekends, during your days off, you struggle, the art of idling eludes you?
How intoxicating work is for you! You enjoy the energy. Don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t get canceled out for it. Your brain is composed of fractals of processes, flowcharts, decisions, and conversations across people, offices, regions, and countries. As you traverse across their boundaries, the dimensions begin to fade, and you see the picture whole, evidently like no one else, experiencing this inexplicable sense of fulfillment rushing through your bloodstream. The people you meet – people who build, people who lie, people who quote scriptures, people who trust, people who persevere, people who save lives, and also ones who deceive. The circles you create and the lines you draw.
You are not just breaking your back; you are frankly breaking bad! You have tasted the most exotic of foods, slept on the softest of beds, drank the oldest of spirits, and wondered how much older spirits have to be to lighten people’s egos. You swam in seas, swam across lakes, watched the sun jump up from behind Everest, and see it set beyond the endless sprawls of slums stretching to the horizon.
Are you missing out? Are you making losses? Perhaps not. You are the kind of guy who ensures being there for those you love and who love you. But you also love it here, in this familiar terrain of hardship and toil, of success and reward, of being alone among endless conversations. You took your time to figure things out, but once you started your career, you knew you belong here – the state of perpetual motion. Your motivation is simple – acknowledging that there’s nothing else you do better. Your goal – to see the best of you.
You are not bored because you are not experimenting. You are decidedly the guy who matured with age and knew you are unavoidably and helplessly nice, almost to the point of being plain and sometimes even hurting those unsuspecting victims of your niceness whose expectations you raised unknowingly and failed to fulfill them before you left. You are not the hard-headed corporate who relegates anything creative to being ‘artsy.’ You love art when it catches your attention. You love music when it syncs to the rhythms in your head. You listen to podcasts about history, science, mythology, cryptocurrency, meditation, and happiness, and yet you never wish for more clarity to trace the fuzzy contours of yourself that you encounter accidentally sometimes. You know the limits of how much you can know yourself.
You started again after the pause. It is not as worse as you thought. The sight of rows and rows of airplanes looking like muzzled pets gave you a strange pang of despair. Of course, everything at the airports sparkles in unseen serenity. Fitted to shape cabin crew attire and the perfectly styled hair up-dos have been replaced by PPEs. You count the number of people everywhere you go and keep drawing your circles and boundaries, this time for different reasons altogether. It feels like everybody is desperate to get back on the dance floor, but they have lost their sense of rhythm in all the chaos. As for you, you have just started tapping your feet to the muffled beat.
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Author: Staff Contributor
Illustration/Photograhy: Manoj Madhavan; TDLM Design Team