Ode to a November

Sometimes, when I’m going about my day minding my own business, a random word will suddenly hit me like a rock to the head.

Anybody else get that? Just me?

Today, as I sat down at my desk, a single word jolted my brain:

Insipid.

A poignant summary of my nowadays, almost.

Days upon days of repeated routes and repeated routines. Is this all there is to this life? Or is there something I’m not quite getting right? It feels like I’m in a rat race, but one where the only contestant is myself and I somehow end up chasing after my own tail. In fact, I sometimes ponder over this so much I feel like I could almost get depression from it (is this what a quarter-life crisis feels like? I need to level up from age 25 asap).

But then again, perhaps the expectations I harbour are a little too high and the standards I try to hold myself to are a bit too much. Nobody said it’s bad to have goals – it’s just really, really, really bad for your skin and hair and overall well-being when you start to view them as the yardsticks of your happiness.

Also my lack of patience is probably another factor responsible for all this self-inflicted stress. When I want something, I want it now – and though it may manifest occasionally as a source of motivation, it really is just a double-edged sword at the end of the day.

My secondary school literature teacher once tried to impart upon a bunch of rowdy fifteen year olds the importance of delayed gratification; that is to resist the temptations of an immediate pleasure in preference for a later (and probably longer-lasting) reward. A decade later and it seems this is still something I have yet to fully grasp. Forbearance, unfortunately, was never really my strong suit.

But it is what it is, and while the chilly rains of November have already begun to descend upon us, perhaps the kindest thing I can do for myself is to remember that it isn’t about how anaemic the days feel, but rather that no matter how anaemic the days may be, they will invariably, unfailingly carry on. And so instead of fighting the tides, I would do better exercising a little more endurance, letting the waves of time wash over me and seizing with outstretched hands all the little sparks of joy, happiness and (inevitable) melancholy to be cherished in the many quarters of life ahead.

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