Rohit's Realm

// / archive / 2011 / 03 / 16 / melancholy-meditations

March 16, 2011

Melancholy Meditations

The venerable Wall Street Journal yesterday had an interesting article that very much captured what I have long asserted on this most dreary of sites: happiness is totally overrated! Why be happy and content, awash in warmth and love, when one can be miserable and disgruntled, drinking alone in the dark while sitting on the ground, right? But aside from providing yet another point of validation for my enlightened theories (of which, there have been many over the years, I assure you), it also brought to the forefront a certain feeling of aimlessness that has set in rather strongly over the past few weeks.

Although I wouldn't say that feeling is either nearly as powerful or quite as all-encompassing as it was back in the dark days of 2007, its reappearance many years later is nevertheless disconcerting. And unlike my last few months in San Francisco, these days there is no uncertainty or liminality to blame. Nor, for that matter, is there any unrest on the personal front that can conveniently explain the turmoil.

Quite the contrary, my life has stabilized substantially since I stormed into New York nearly six months ago. In many respects, in fact, it's been far more stable than my time in (and at) Chicago ever was. Much of this newfound stability is no doubt a consequence of work and the toll it takes. I simply do not have the energy these days to rage as I once had.

That's hardly the full story, however. Given my go big or go home approach to law school, my hours in New York have not been tremendously longer than they were in Chicago. And since my commute is now seven minutes door-to-door rather than thirty minutes fighting preposterous rush hour lane closures on Lake Shore Drive and navigating the pothole-laden streets of much loathed Hyde Park, net-net, I might even have more free time now than I did then. So what gives?

Simple: there are no milestones left anymore—none that are concrete or tangible anyway. Days are turning to weeks, and weeks bleeding into months, one hardly distinguishable from the next. Some of that is the lull of the working world, of course. As I noted in a notoriously dense post authored during the height of my bout with venomous existential angst, unlike school, [w]ork only ends when you are fired, retire to a life of medical woes, or quit in financial ruin. And all the while, you're marching slowly, infallibly toward unlamented death and inevitable oblivion. Pretty grim shit, right?

Unfortunately, the fewer milestones that the working world offers is only part of the story these days. Age is also starting to set in. Adventure and recklessness are starting to give way to routine and steadiness. Left and right, people are marrying folks they swore they'd never marry and moving to places they swore they'd never move—in short, they're settling down. A new generation of pant-shitting ingrates is already among us. And if anything, these trends are only likely to accelerate in the years to come.

So as I barrel ever closer to the age that I glibly marked some years ago as the end of life—thirty—I can't help but wonder the perennial question: is this it? Is this all there is? Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? But whereas I asked those questions years ago with fear and disdain, praying I would never meet such a demise, today that fear and disdain is simply replaced with another question: would it really be so bad?

Maybe so. Maybe it will be as stifling and soul-crushing as it seems. But then again, maybe not. People have gotten old and boring for thousands of years; maybe it's just what we have to do. I honestly couldn't tell you what I think. I have no idea.

So where does that leave me, you might ask? Happy? Sad? Content? Disaffected? Actually, none of the above. I still have some brooding to do before I can answer that question. Rest assured though, dear readers, for I shall not hesitate to drop another thousand words or more when I do discover the answer—if nothing else, you can take that to the bank.


Add Comment





* required field

E-mail addresses will never be displayed. The following HTML tags are allowed:
a abbr acronym address big blockquote br cite del em li ol p pre q small strong sub sup ul