In the age of technology, people force themselves to adhere to their 8-hours-a-day routine. Something’s wrong with that setup.
People want to snooze and wish it were a holiday. They long to lounge on the sofa and snack on beer and pizza.
But reality hits hard and so does work pressure. Walking into office has become as taxing as walking for exercise.
The growing pile of papers on their desks makes brains decay. They know their lives are headed nowhere. Something’s missing, they know that, but they know not what.
So they look for happiness anywhere they could find it. They crave elation; a high beyond stacks of tasks. And they find it. Some find it in coke, some meth, or food, whiskey, tobacco, even — they ache for high, and find addiction, instead.
Getting high transcends to losing consciousness. Laughter becomes torturous, and confidence, a long-lost relative. Solitude reeks of isolation and loneliness gnaws at them even in a group.
But as the weekend wanes and Monday appears, the clock ticks again and responsibilities rise. They master the art of being busy, too occupied even to notice the sunset. The kids yell into the phone, and the spouse wonders aloud if they’d have a house of their own. The father pops in to say hi, complains about his own wife and, wants a recliner for Christmas. Then walks away waving in the air.
The week goes by and Wednesday arrives, along with lengthy memos and unfinished tasks. And they go round in circles reaching nowhere. Trying to please the spouse, the father, and the neighbour, they fail through and through. Life goes on, competing with dad next door, or mom across the block, wondering what relatives would say about that new shirt, or how colleagues would react to the tie clip.
They lift weights heavier than themselves. Providing for all others except themselves. Who’d blame them for kicking back with a cold beer? As the weekend begins again, they run up the mountain out of breath. From growing up to growing old, a life so clocked they’ve found nothing to make them high.
A team outing, a friendly dinner party, and a social drink — to avoid judgement. They look up to society, to accept them, to feel inclusive. And if that means they have sacrifice beer for something stronger, so be it. Yearning to belong, they’re looking for recognition even in the canon’s mouth.
Until one day it all stops. One day, when life flashes before their eyes, all they’d see is disappointing years, outlining work schedules and weak-kneed drinking parties. That day, they realise they’ve lived life playing roles. From a schoolboy and a young lover to a soldier, and to a father, they’ve played each of the seven roles but lived through none of those.
They’d realise: They’d spent their time making their teachers, parents, spouse, children, friends, and even their grandchildren happy. And when they see they haven’t seen their highest point of happiness, it’s already too late. We are they.
Unless we stop now.
Unless we shove the elephant in the room, it won’t move away. Unless we reflect now, we’d have nothing to reflect on later. Unless we find our high now, we never will.
Try something new for the first time. Wake up an hour early. Watch the sunrise. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Pet a dog, or sit on a bench.
Chase a squirrel to amuse yourself. Read a book to a child. Play the piano. Write a letter to your fist crush. Give it to your spouse instead. Ruffle your kid’s hair, and flash a smile to Maintenance Bob. Hit the gym. Eat some candy, forget the alarm for a day. Skip the tie for work one day, laugh without reason, reason without cause.
Somewhere down the lane, you’d have found something that made you high.
And when you do, hold on. Once you’ve seen the little joys of life, the things that make life worth living, you wouldn’t go back to the dark chasm of self-hatred.
You’d sleep better than you ever did. You’d read and write and laugh and sing like you don’t give a damn. The world may cringe, the world may judge, but you’ll have changed. Because when you’ve found your true high, you’ve found a way to accept yourself.
And as life flashes before your dropping eyes, nothing else would matter.