(Posted by Hg.)
So I wait, and I wonder. Standard approach #1. Do nothing, let’s have a think about it. Like Hamlet declaring himself reborn as a man of deeds rather than words, then taking out his notebook. “When in doubt, do nowt,” goes the Yorkshire saying. But what if you’re always in doubt? What if nothing is ever certain? Is a life of deferral something to aspire to? I’m really not sure.
More and more, I find myself wondering. What’s it all about, is usually the recurring theme. The Big One, the six million dollar manifesto. Like Natalie Imbruglia, I’m torn. Both blessed and cursed with the ability to empathise with either side of a dichotomy, I’m a living synthesis of every possible tenable position. It’s tiring. I pray for certainty, but find myself doubting that anyone is listening.
This transparent theorisation is all smokescreen, of course. The simple fact is that I can’t make up my mind. Man of action, or life of leisure? Thrusting, power-hungry exec or gen-x (just) dropout rejecting The System? I’ve given up many things to get where I am now, a driven hamster on a slightly bigger wheel than the others. I enjoy the exercise and although I don’t seem to be going anywhere, the view is great. But with every passing month, the shirt and tie round my neck feels more like a noose.
Over in the corner I see the rats who’ve dropped out of the race and I envy them. I could do that, I think. This wheel’s over-rated. I’d much rather be getting ratted. Bollocks to the Protestant Work Ethic; my tastes are catholic enough, I could find meaning in a low-budget life. I could stack shelves in the morning and happily spend the afternoons and evenings reading, swimming, playing with the nieces and nephews.
Around this time, fear and uncertainty usually take their place in the chorus. Many people would envy a lifestyle like mine. I worked hard to get here, could I really give it all up on a whim? What if I got bored and found myself trapped? For all its shortcomings, boredom is definitely not a feature of my current existence. Frustration, yes. Disillusion and unfulfillment, yes. But boredom isn’t an option when you’re trying to live three lives at once.
When in doubt, do nowt: the procrastinator’s biggest justification. There’s no need to do it now, because I will definitely do it better if I just have a little longer, to think about it, to analyse, to plan. The planets are not quite aligned, the dice might not fall as expected. Another shake, another flick of the wrist… better luck next time. Things are always better if you leave them to mature. Let’s watch the pot while the paint dries.
So I wait, and I wonder, and I contemplate my next move. Locked in the prison of my thoughts, I hope for someone to bake me a cake with a life in it. Like a modern-day Hamlet, I reach for my BlackBerry. In its inane inbox, cryptic calendar, chaotic contacts and tepid tasks, maybe an answer must lie. Then I realise, all answers are lies. Nothing will ever be certain. I stare through the bars at the blue sky and my mind wanders to my recurring fantasy. I dream of a life where I know what I’m doing.