Making my way through the bustling CBD, weaving through the crowds of people hypnotised by their cell phone, vacantly writing messages or dangerously passing through red lights while taking glances down at this device that has become a part of our own bodies. They wear slim fitting suits and pencil skirts, they smell of a concoction of perfumes, creams, colognes and that sweet smell of brand name laundry detergent. I am one of them.
Yet just over two months ago I was walking down the streets of India, passing cows and breathing in usually unpleasant, unidentifiable smells. As if remembering a dream, I look back on a time when I was swarmed with contrasting ideas, when I made genuine connections to a mix of open-minded, non-traditional, creative people who had temporarily come into my life at whatever moment they were in theirs. When I woke up each morning with thoughts of what I wanted to do rather than what I had to do. When I spent my time exchanging ideas with others, or writing whatever inspired me by hand or wandering off alone and disappearing in my own world.
I remember thinking how changed I’d felt, how Byron Bay and Indonesia and India left their permanent mark on me. I’d never revert back to the typical 9-5 cubicle life, I’d live the creative life from now on. I would no longer live a life where I spent the whole week waiting for the weekends.
Yet here I am, writing this inconspicuously at work, in a ‘new email’ template in Outlook. I’m back in my little grey cubicle, wishing it was Friday again. Feeling as though this corporate life is like a glass jar trying to smother my flame. So I struggle to keep it burning, to keep my fire alive by holding it open just slightly. Just enough for it to breathe.
The past few mornings I’ve been absorbed by a cover song by Paolo Nutini called “Time to Pretend” originally done by MGMT. The lyrics of this song cover my sentiments almost exactly. I listen to it while walking to work, while I pass over a bridge that hovers over a manic highway with cars racing frantically underneath me. I pass by the suits and the ties and the skirts and the heels, everyone else who is also on this boring, traditional, 9-5 train. I wonder if they feel this struggle too? And then the line of the song comes on “yea it’s overwhelming, but what else can do? Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?” and with a long, emotional and typical Nutini groan he says “ahwww no” and it gives me goose bumps because I’ve traded myself in for exactly that. I’ve traded the freedom and the boredom and the time spent alone for a nice pay-cheque and a traditional way of life.
It feels like my mind is a wild horse that is being whipped into shape by a violent owner. So I stand in my stable and dream of a that time when I ran free in open fields, galloping fiercely alongside other wild horses who made me feel like there was a different way to live this life. A life that tasted of freedom, adventure and spontaneity.