I live a functional life. I pay my bills on time. I think of taxes and investments – odious things until a few years ago. Now, they’re just routine. I plan purchases like a battle. Well, not entirely. I am still learning but I have come a long way since I never used to plan anything! I try not to think too deeply about what I am doing right now. Partly because it pays the bills and partly because that way lies madness. Some days a restlessness overcomes me and I wait until it passes. I get up and write poetry at 2.20 am and I still think of the title of my perpetually-in-progress poetry collection.
I met M after ages and it’s wonderful because we had so much to say to each other. She no longer lives in the city but that is not the problem. I fell off the radar – or rather we fell off each other’s radars. Lots of things come into perspective when she asks those piercing questions of hers; I am always left a bit shocked. Shocked out of my complacence that is. I need to think long and deep about her questions because they are like facing a mirror and seeing the naked truth. I see all that is wrong stare back at me. Once she asked me, ‘So what is holding you back?’ That was like many years ago. I am still figuring out the answer to that question. So on this trip, she was talking about our ‘functional life.’ On the face of it, we are leading our respective functional lives. But underneath there is this profound dissatisfaction with the way our lives have turned out. Not something we expected that is. I thought I’d be out of here (read take off from planet Earth) by 27. So I suppose this is an improvement. (Or not, depending on your perspective.) She was saying that a functional life is all that is possible right now because she doesn’t have the energy or inclination to pursue more. I agree. But something rankles me anyway. I still have that dangerous thing called hope gnawing at my heels. I still think we can make our ‘functional lives’ out of the ordinary. I still think we can get out. And live. That is really scary. I don’t know how but I think it is possible. Even though the days blur by, even though there are bills to be paid and deadlines to be met and duties to be attended to, we can still build our non-functional extraordinary lives.