I’ve often contemplated, like many others, the reasons for time going so much faster as I get older. Many of my conclusions are no different to those considered by most others as well, yet I feel compelled to write them down after a few weeks of being particularly preoccupied with these thoughts. The obvious conclusion is that I have more that I’m responsible for doing now than I did when I was younger, so it stands to reason that I have less time available in between all the things I have to do. But that seems to only answer part of the question.
It seems that life has become a ritual that operates in cycles. I often find myself fixated on observing, measuring, reminiscing, contemplating and doing everything within the context of new years, another month, the next week, or tomorrow to the point where I find that I convince myself that the cycles of these years, let alone the days, or even the hours, is what determines the activities that I should be planning for. Most of us, well at least the 99%, work from pay cheque to pay cheque. If we have disposable income after redistribution day, we consider ourselves fortunate, if not entirely blessed. The more disposable income we have, the more blessed we feel, the more we indulge, the more we need to focus on getting that next pay cheque to feel blessed again. This might sound like a cynic’s view of life, but there’s much truth in it.
I forget so easily how to fill the gaps in between all the responsibilities that I have. Worse yet, I forget that many of those responsibilities can be fulfilling and rewarding rather than a duty, but the ever present demon of expectations dissuades me from raising too many expectations beyond what my duty is. And so the cycles of sanity are spawned and nurtured all at once. There is much merit in being spontaneous as opposed to measured and deliberate. I used to embrace spontaneity, but due to the prejudices of society, I feel like I’m sub-consciously suppressing my spontaneity from fear of being seen as one having a mid-life crisis.
The staid, predictable, frightfully responsible, and entirely dependable family man is what is expected of me. It’s what a dysfunctional and disillusioned society expects of me. It’s what I demand of myself, despite it going against my own nature. I embrace responsibility willingly, because there is too much recklessness around me. But the cycles drive me insane. The painful predictability of life, of each month, of each day. It all stifles me. It smothers me. So I rebel. I say the things that are improper, and I challenge those views held sacred, not because I want to, but because I feel extremely restless and uncomfortable when I see others behave out of ritual or habit without appreciating the gaps they have at their disposal.
I would rather have responsibilities between the gaps, rather than gaps between the responsibilities. The proverbial glass is half empty for me not because I don’t see it as half full, but simply because I know I’ve drunk more than most from it. I don’t want my glass to be half full. In fact, I don’t want a glass. I don’t want convention. Nor do I want routine or safe choices. I want to know that I am living and not just going through the motions pretending that doing something better today than I did it yesterday, which was better than I did it the day before, is sufficient fulfilment for my life. I need more than that. I need to look in someone’s eyes and see it confused and restless because I challenged them to think. Because I challenged them to work those gaps and move beyond the routine.
Those gaps. They’re so damn elusive because when I get them, I’m usually taking a breather to recover from the demands of the routine. I must break the cycle. This cycle of seeming sanity has robbed me of the essence of what it pretends to be. Sanity is not the prevalence of order, nor is it the prevalence of function. It’s simply, by society’s standards, the presence of conformance. Conformance has killed many a creative soul, and destroyed many a great idea. More than this, conformance has destroyed the me I used to smile at. It’s time to break the cycle of sanity. For verily, as has been said already, a sane man, when compared to an insane society, must appear insane. But I think JG Ballard said it best when he said, “In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.”