There comes a time in life when you feel that there is no point anymore. All the search for meaning in work, wanting to do better work, wanting to make a difference, wanting to do better for yourself or your family even doesn’t matter anymore. When you are at peace with your lack of success and impact. When you don’t care to be respected or loved or wanted anymore. When no matter what anyone says or it just does not matter.
I was up on the roof the other day surrounded by a small gagggle of kids. They were playing some ridiculous game. I had arrived – quite obviously unwelcome and at clearly the wrong times, because I was a disruption. The good-looking and well-reasoned neighbours were working out and staying fit because they knew that the pandemic would end soon. my better half (or better whole) was also busy improving on perfection. And then there was me, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I didn’t want to be there. I had no expectations from the future, none even from the present.
I was told what is the harm in being a child sometimes, why don’t you play too? Why indeed not. In that gaggle – I was constantly elected to be the one who got to catch everyone else and then there were the kids with the ceaseless laughing, chanting, teasing and singsong voices. They pranced all around me demonstrating so well why I was STILL a failure at games. Even on my own rooftop. Four times we played, four times I lost. On the team were fleet-footed five year old somethings and a gym body. The game became a nauseating experience.
I was struck, as I told my sister about this later, about how little had changed in my life since my being a child. Back then, a gaggle of kids, me no more fleet-footed then than I am now. Kids laughing at me. Turning my second name into Ravan, calling me an oldie (buddhi) because I wore glasses, telling me that I couldn’t catch em. And I never could. I stopped trying. I didn’t care.
And so it is with life. I wade through these days, time swimming around me — water plants (sometimes), cooking meaningless breakfasts, lunches and dinners that nobody wants or likes, do a bad job of doing the dishes (no matter how much I try to scrub they never come clean), sweep so that dust remains in every corner, try and run because I’m uglier now than I was when younger…Evening arrives, everyone leaves. I am alone. Sometimes I watch a stupid movie so I can feel less stupid. I review the stupidies I have to exectute tomorrow to stay afloat. Perhaps it will have a fancy name like “research process automation” or “social media metrics”, stuff my brain can’t process.
Like everything else. The only people who want me (for work) is for my ability to faff my way through reports, because I can provide the “padding”. I have never known what it is like truly to be honoured for doing good work. Perhaps because I have never done any. That must be it. The only time children want to hang out with me is when I can give them something to eat, fancy at that – homecooked wout be a disaster, my son is testimony. Twilight comes, the birds are trying to sign a song – sounds like a cacophony, the colours in the skies are loud and badly put together.
The truth has dawned upon me. I am a nobody, an ordinary anybody – a statistic. I am free.