Drifting Away

I’d woken up early and I took a long time getting ready to exist.

The Book of Disquiet

There is a tedium in my life now. Like the dampness after the monsoon, it has seeped into every corner of my soul. I do not have a sense of time, of how long it has been like this. I can only say that it has been very long. I do have glimpses of a past full of energy, a sense of purpose and of achievement, of fiery ambition and volatile emotion. Now these are a blur, a story of my own dreaming perhaps and impossibly far from reality.

My day is filled with many things that I have accumulated and committed to doing over time. I can imagine doing this because I was interested at some point. Even now I am not averse to them but the meaning I once found in them seems lost. When I do them it is out of habit and to have something to do. Most times I don’t do them, time flies in a limbo of daydreaming, anxiety about the piling work, self deprecation and pretense of normality. I have always been good at daydreaming, it comes naturally, visually to me. The nature of my dreams and fantasies has changed drastically over time, from achievable ambitions and practical scenarios they are now increasingly distant from reality. The more impossible the dream the more I crave it, the more I add to it until it festers like an open wound that burns painfully but also tells me that I can feel.

It takes time for me to get out of bed. The comfort and certainty of my mental life is hard to let go. The prospect of facing the day is daunting for the fear of more exhaustion from idleness. Not idleness from the lack of work but one that comes from not working because of the tedium of work. Getting to the end of such a day again and again is no less tiring. At the other end, at night, I welcome the oblivion with the willingness of one who has slogged all day in the sun. I feel that I have earned the rest.

When someone talks to me about their passion or love or hopes with enthusiasm, my focus is completely on their demeanor and rarely on the details of what they are saying. What I really want to know is how they inspire in themselves such enthusiasm for something, how they can feel so deeply. I have moments when I feel strongly about something but I cannot sustain it. A little thought is enough to convince me that I do not want to make an effort. In times of self doubt, I am sure that this is lethargy and incompetence but this does not help in any way except to make it even more difficult to generate enthusiasm. This criticism sometimes pushes me to get things done and these little periods are when I’m being productive in real world tasks. Eventually, the tedium always catches on.

My deepest emotions are always felt in my dreams, the intensity can last several days or more. I am not ignorant of the world around me, I understand people and situations. I am perceptive and open to ideas. But I know that all this is on a superficial level, I cannot go deeper, I cannot arouse in myself the initiative to do something. The thought of it makes me back away. In my mind, the energy it would require and the pointlessness of it all is enough to make it dull. Only in my dreams can I find the strength of emotion and purpose. Amidst this, the pretense of normality helps keep up the dignity of my tedium.

I have respect for people with initiative, it is because of them that the world is worth living in, they are also the ones that make it wretched. I envy them. I envy their conviction, their drive, their energy. They have found a way to beat the tedium. This is the only way as far as I can tell.

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