It just occurred to me how ephemeral our lives truly are. Now why would I think that, having only just hit the first quarter of my life?
Recently my mum WhatsApped to let me know that someone within our church community back home had just passed away. When I last heard about him, it was just news that he had been hospitalized for kidney failure. Then it was a blood clot in the brain and next thing we knew he was gone just like that. He was only a few years my senior, had previously hit on teen me when he was unmarried, late 30s at most when he died. He left behind his wife of ONE year right before Christmas day. One. How short indeed is happiness.
I’m glad he actually got to love and be loved before he passed away but I felt disturbed and oddly upset by the death of this man who I barely knew, save that we were in church where he was practically a fixture in the community. Perhaps it was more sadness at the thought of his wife, newly married and newly widowed. But it set the tone for most of 2018 despite happening at the tail end of it. It made me afraid. The paranoia resurfaced. I didn’t want to be her. For a long time, I badgered my boyfriend to touch some wood whenever he jokingly mentioned dying. I couldn’t face the possibility of it happening. I still cant fathom the thought of losing someone I love and having to live through it alone.
And before that my uncle who I barely just got to know for the past one year, flying off on a trip to see his daughter and never coming home after. I met my cousin at her fathers funeral as we watched a slideshow of father and daughter pics glide across the screen, hurriedly put together by her while she sobbed her heart out. He was about the same age as my parents. Again, so fleeting it gave me a sense that I wasn’t living, not really anyway and that I was slowly inching closer every day to my own demise.
2018 has been a year of many firsts and bridges burnt. It has been a year of forging ahead regardless and plentiful fears and tears. It has been a year of mental breakdowns and bleary eyed mornings wishing I was dead. It has been a year I quietly contemplated ending it all yet again.
Despite the many bright spots that undoubtedly bloomed within my existence throughout 2018, it remained an exhausting year that has sapped my energy and passion. At the end of my career as a magazine writer, I came to the realization that I no longer knew how to write. Now that isn’t to say that I have lost my ability to write, no that would be an unimaginable horror but it is more of the passion and fire that kept my fingers flying over keyboards and my brain running through endless vocabulary lists of elegant sounding words. They were all gone.
Running through my fingers like water into the dark abyss that is the mundane life. Each and every time I stumbled, a blank space appearing in my head where countless beautiful words should have appeared for me, I died a little more inside. I lost my words and with it, my spark to create. And even my pride and confidence as a writer.
It wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had been good at something else, but all I’ve ever known has been my words. It felt like losing an essential part of myself.
For the colleagues who became friends, thank you for keeping me going throughout this time. You will never know how much your encouragement helped keep a struggling writer going. There’ve been far too many times where I wanted to disappear entirely from the relentless onslaught of pressure, work and my anxiety.
I thought I could handle it and that Id be old enough now to make it on my own but by the end of this year I broke down crying to my parents, hundreds of miles away from home alone (bf was busy) in a city I had learned to call home. I was scared. I was tired. I had given up.
Broken by the same industry that kept my passion alive from high school to university.
Ironic isn’t it? The things that we love most become the things that break us. My parents were in part sympathetic but also partly gloating, I had indeed proved their point that it wasn’t a sustainable career despite fighting for it myself and doing everything on my own. I never felt so ashamed before. Now I find myself becoming more and more apathetic towards things. Do I feel happy? I’m not sure. Everything feels covered in a thick blanket of I-don’t-care and my laughter sounds hollow. I’m sure I love my boyfriend but I cant muster enough energy to keep my attention from straying when he speaks at times. And it doesn’t even stray to anyone else, it just goes blank like a TV turned off in my head. The silence is deafening. Its been happening for a while now so while I’m sure it doesn’t just happen with my poor boyfriend, its becoming a problem when I zone out during conversations with people. Even mid-interview. Concentration circuits fried from burnout? Possibly.
This year too I decided to end a couple of friendships, if I could call them that. One being a high school ex-best friend who I figured was only using me all this while for free books and proofreading services. At least I got my books back. The other for differing political views. Along the way, others have drifted off into the void called life and I being tired and a horrible friend, chose not to chase them.
I jumped into a new job without much thought and in the midst of being stuck far from home this Christmas I now regret it. It wasn’t what I expected and the only perks are the much higher salary I am getting. The people are not as warm as the friends I left behind at my old place and I dearly miss the days where I could head out for Indian food and bitch about some stupid new office policy together. I miss the chirpy good morning! we used to call out to each other. I even miss the hurried run to that office every morning. Goodbyes are never easy and new beginnings are harder.
I’m dreadfully, drop-dead, fucked as hell tired.
And I don’t know what to do about it but I’m glad 2018 is ending. Goodbye.