“When we free ourselves of desire, we will know serenity and freedom.” -Gautama Buddha
It’s that time of the year again, where I’ve realised I haven’t updated the blog in months, where I come up with a sorry excuse of a topic to make up for it, and where I wonder if writing is really what I want to be doing in life.
There are only so many times I can write about procrastination, and that kinda sucks, seeing as to how little I have to write about anymore.
It’s hard to come up with new material when your life consists of traffic, work, more traffic, and sleep. I might’ve eked out a story about traffic a couple of times, but as I settle in to the rigours of adult life, I find the encounters with the occasional road bully and the mobile-phone driver just a part of the day-to-day—not something worth putting in a story.
Of course, not having new experiences to write about can be scary as a writer, but what’s been bothering me more lately is the lack of desire to write in general.
So, I’m thinking, it’s all probably just a phase, right? Maybe do something else for a while, then come back to writing. But that’s exactly it. I can’t find the motivation to want to do things anymore. Any time I have left from commute and work is spent vegging out—a feeble attempt at decluttering a laden mind.
In writing, one of the golden rules is to make sure that every sentence has a purpose, either by moving the plot forward, or by developing character. It almost feels as though my life has taken this to heart, every action serving the only purpose of self-preservation.
It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how to create stuff just for fun.
“I kinda envy the guys who know what they want in life,” my friend Joe said over lunch. “I’m 36 and I still don’t know what I want in life.”
I nodded in silent approval. “I say I love writing, but when it comes down to actually doing the work, I do everything else but. Do you think it has more to do with discipline than passion?”
Joe shrugged. “I don’t know man. I’m the wrong person to ask. Right now, I’m just doing stuff and crossing them off the list as I go. Hopefully I find something that sticks.”
That night, in an attempt to ‘remain a creative person’, I fired up the text editor, and for the twentieth time that month, closed it back again to binge on YouTube.
Something must really be wrong, I thought. It must be a phase. A long-ass one.
I thought about my climbing shoes gathering dust in the darkest corners of the closet; the boxing gloves that have dried and cracked from disuse; the backpack that hasn’t seen an aircraft cabin in a while.
I’ve forgotten what it felt like to want to do things, and the new year threatens to steamroll over all the hopes and dreams I’ve harboured for 2017.
And then I remembered what a wise man once said, something about having serenity and freedom through the absence of desire.
So I sent a message to Joe on a lark: “Yo you know what? Maybe our lack of desire just means that we’re nearer to nirvana than the average person.”
His reply: “What have you been smoking.”
But it didn’t matter what his reply was. I didn’t want an answer. In fact, I didn’t want anything. You’d think I’d be all unicorns and rainbows from all this unwanting.
Then why does it feel anything but?