Would that we could

Recently I travelled to a warmer place, where the pace is gentler, where the people seem friendlier. The food there is better (at least what I ate) and more varied and cheaper. The beer there is also cheap! The most expensive drink I had there went for the equivalent of three hundred shillings.

I was doing the same work I do here but more intensely. For some reason I did not feel the sense of emptiness and exhaustion that characterizes this kind of work, the feeling what I am doing is ultimately futile and one day I will wake up and realize I have wasted my life.

I felt lighter. Some cosmic weight had been sloughed off my shoulders, even though I was staring at a command line for most of the time and I worked longer and harder than I have since the first few months after I got this job. In those quiet spaces of my mind and in the chilled air-conditioned office, I could see myself slowing down. Stepping off the hamster wheel no longer felt like an impossibility.

Not having to rush, not worrying and over-analysing, going with whatever flow you find yourself in, taking time with your meal, savouring a turn of phrase in a book, closing your eyes and feeling and listening to the breeze as it whispers through the trees.

To step off and away from the world even for a day. To abandon the careening ride of emotions and thoughts that constantly plague us, to feel deeply while at the same time feel nothing. The clichés are “to let go” and “to just be”. To stop running in circles. To be still enough to find meaning in the mundane, to not experience the mundane as merely mundane.

A close friend shares these sentiments. We agree we could both use a change of scene. We fantasize about going somewhere no one knows us, no one knows our sins and our flaws, where can start afresh and build new lives. Would that we could.


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