This Writer Gal

Kakul Ehsan Butt

I muse once again…

I hate motivational quotes. May have liked them at one point, but now not so much. I theorise that as we get older, more world-wearied, those motivational quotes become gratingly annoying. Because life is not exactly like those rainbow sprinkled motivational quotes. Life for most people, is a repetition of small negative slump, day in day out. We relieve the negative slump with temporary solutions; like watching a movie, visiting a friend, or taking a nap. But the negative slump always return.

I am in my forties and did not expect to feel such a slump. This slump has defined the way I view the world. My own experiences have helped shape this definition, which has been both life-changing and slow progress. Almost six years ago, I landed a job in my dream industry; something that I had previously thought was impossible. Being half way through the employment age, changing industries was not easy. While I consider myself lucky, I admit it hasn’t been that great since. After almost five years of being in the same role and unable to progress, I learned I have two options: stay stationary in my current role or look elsewhere. Elsewhere, I learned age is the biggest hurdle to a career progression. Unless I change industry. Which I don’t want to, and also harder to do so.

Friendship, at this phase in life, has a different kind of energy than a friendship during the twenties and thirties. This is due to shift in priorities and also life experiences tend to harden most people. I don’t have many close friends. I only have a couple, with one closer to my age group. She is the one that I am navigating the forties with. As a teenager, I used to wonder why adults were always critical and grumpy. I get it now. Life isn’t always fun and rainbows. Life isn’t learning to dance in the rain or whatever that stupid quote is.

I never used to think about my future, but now it consumes my thoughts every day. I worry whether I will have enough money to retire with. I read about lonely pensioners in the UK and wonder if that will be my future. I don’t think there is anything wrong in thinking about the future in a realistic manner. It helps motivate me to make changes. Currently, I am looking for another job within the same industry to help me plan my future. Sometimes, I feel exhausted by this. It does take a toll on me. Sometimes, I think about my own mental health, and I am surprised that I have survived this long. In my darkest hours, I do feel my mortal coil wrapping itself around my neck and I’m struggling to breathe. But in times like these, I would either curl up in bed and disappear into the empty void, or I become motivated. It depends on the given day.

It is safe to admit, I am currently stuck in the rut. More than ever. It is frustrating because I have a great desire to progress and to be inspired. It is not for the lack of trying either. As the year is coming to an end, I am realising the new year, new me mantra is a sad reassurance that maybe one day, something will click and come our way. Is it silly for me to hang onto this pathetic hope, or should I totally give into being the grumpy old critical adult that my teen self would be disappointed with?

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