Contrasts

Today has been an excellent study in contrast.

I can still feel the incredible weekend I just had in every part of my body. I feel three days of swimming, tennis, and frisbee in a pleasant stiffness across every muscle in my body. I can feel three nights of talking, shouting, singing, smoking and breathing in campfire smoke whenever I try to speak and my scratchy throat converts my voice into a baritone phone sex operator’s.  Most of all, I feel it every few minutes when a happy memory of laughing, playing and connecting with old friends intrudes on the work day I’m about to start, and snaps me out of the duller reality I’ve returned to.

All of these good feelings and memories look even better in comparison to my actual surrounding. Grey cubicle walls. Dirty beige desk. Ugly, bland, boring office decor. A basket of meaningless work waiting for me.

I don’t want to over-sell the melancholy of my situation. My job is actually pretty interesting, as jobs go. But after spending a weekend living as human beings are meant to live, I find it painfully obvious how far from that ideal we’ve been taken by modern city living and bureaucratic white collar employment. Why are people spending the vast majority of their lives doing things they don’t want to do? Weren’t we supposed to be making progress? Hasn’t life been getting better? That’s what we’re told. So how come the typical “successful” person spends 80-120 hours a week either being at work, commuting to work, or getting dressed for work? The 21st century man is farther removed from the things that make life worth living – family, friends, nature, physical labour, conquest, achievement – than he ever has been. But we’re supposed to be grateful for it, because we can surf the internet on our iPads for our two hours of daily freedom every evening.

We need to escape from this bullshit. We need to find alternatives to this life. We need a plan. The alternative is the slow, strangling death of lost hope and extinguished dreams that thousands of days like this will eventually deliver us to.