If ever you’ve spent a significant amount of time working in an office environment you’ve seen them; the middle-aged employee. People, whom the young look upon with a touch of pity, tinged with relief and gratitude that they are not them. The young have their whole lives ahead of them! Assuming an average lifespan, most of them still have about 80% of their lives still to live! They have full social schedules, disposable income, and energy!
I know because I was once one of those youngsters. When I was 25 and working for an insurance company, I watched those in their 40s and 50s; men and women just like me who got up every morning and came to work and went about their daily routines. The only real difference between us was that 20, maybe 30 years. Many of them had been with the company for more years than I’d been driving; a part of the workforce for more years than I’d been breathing. And sometimes I’d feel genuine sorrow for them. I wondered if they ever stopped and considered their lives, the years they had left, the years until they could retire. I would think about how different our lives were, imagining that their lives were boring and dreary, filled with domestic routine, while mine was a young and exciting life, full of promise. And I’d think to myself, “I’m SO glad I’m not that guy.”
I am now “that guy.” At 50 I wake up each morning and live the same day with the exception of the shirt, shoes and pants I choose to wear. Standing on the platform awaiting the train I’m already thinking about when I can go home. I spend the majority of my day in an office, grateful to have a job but bored with the routine of working every day of my life. I go through periods of depression and have for years. I just can’t grasp the point of life’s quotidian. It doesn’t make any sense to me. If not for the fear of death I sometimes wonder why wait? I try to believe in something bigger than myself, a God, a heaven? And while I’ve lived my whole life with some pebble of faith, I find that pebble being chipped away with each passing year. When you begin to believe that there is nothing more than this one life we’re given, that it all means nothing in the end, it makes the quotidian that much harder to accept.
I understand why people take drugs.