Do you spend your days counting down the hours until hometime? The days until the weekend? The weekend until you next holiday?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been counting down the time until I could be alone again. The more I don’t want to do something more acute the feeling is.
In high school I remember every single week working out how many days, hours and even minutes there were left until the evening, weekend or half-term holidays – basically any time where I could return to my natural state: alone.
Fast-forward 18 years and I’m the same. When I went back to university at the age of 30 I drew up a wall chart and worked out just how much peopling I would have to endure until I could be free again. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the course, I made a couple of friends too, but people, bright lights and noise just… exhaust me.
University was a whole other experience for me though. It turned out to be perfect. I had 2 days a week of lectures and 3 to spend studying how I chose. I found myself excelling as I could go deep into my topic, alone, without distractions, time limits or people sapping my energy. I discovered there was a direct correlation between my grades and the amount of time spent alone in the library.
I began to understand that I learned and performed much better when my work was produced in solitude. For the first time in my life I began counting with sadness, rather than anticipation, the amount of time I had until I had to leave university.
In September 2016, my time ran out. As I entered open-plan hell with as much false enthusiasm as I could muster I realised I was effectively back at high school again. I managed to fake it for a month, maybe two, but it soon wore thin as I began counting my time down until I could be alone again. Minutes. Hours. Days. Growing more disinterested in a field I actually loved, when I did it for fun, by the minute.
The problem with work is; it’s not a college course, there is no short or medium term ending. All there is to look forward to is either retirement in 40 years or if your lucky a freak work place accident resulting in your early demise.
This is my life now. A job. This is where I become my job description. This is where I spend more than half my waking day doing what someone else wants me too. This is where I lose my spark, my passion for my hobbies because I’m too tired to pursue them. This is where I become grey. Dead inside. A clock watching zombie.