Weighing ourselves down with inanity

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Weighing ourselves down with inanity

Published: Fri 30 Jun 2017, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 30 Jun 2017, 2:00 AM

You wonder why you aren't whizzing up the elevator of your career and, instead, slogging up the stairs. It's probably your fault, not the fates and karma and the conspiracies of colleagues and bosses; it is just you.
You are a mess, disorganised, imperial in your sense of entitlement and expect the fruit to fall directly from the tree into mouth. Hey world, you owe me.
Read a nice line. If you want to fly, drop all the garbage that weighs you down. Kind of true. We carry so much baggage we don't need.
Figuratively and literally. Just look at our airports and people lugging mounds of stuff. Stuff they do not need, stuff they won't use, just a sort of visual security that they are someone, look, I am overweight, please don't charge me, gifts for friends.
Mentally, we have found convenient copouts. Duty. Commitment. No choice. Narrowing our path and our options. Hunting for status symbols that keep us anchored, steel anklets that won't let us move, specially worn for society's approval. Exhausting energies on the career promotions, competing with colleagues, blurring our aims and ambitions, seeing success through a crooked prism, allowing ourselves to suffer the drag of obligations when we could cut all these by half and be that much lighter. and if we did it, rather than cling to the 'weights', you would be surprised how our closed options opened up.
Then, as the years pass, we get so accustomed to flying low and we don't have the booster rocket to seek another level, finding virtue in the status quo. Not just the booster rocket, we don't have the power to carry that weight but we won't let go of it.
Look around you. Just take a desk drawer as an example. If you were to turn it over and spill the contents, it would be the perfect example of your life. Full of useless stuff. Used stubs. Wedding cards where the couple now have children. Airline boarding passes three years old.  A theatre programme from a foreign trip years back. A dime. Meds in a strip five years out of date. A note with a scribble you cannot decipher. A phone number on the back of a bill.  An expired contract. Ear drops that have congealed. An empty spectacles case.
Move it up a notch. Your cupboards are full of useless things. Your suitcases even more. We hoard, and hoarding has weight and it keeps us rooted.
Abs right.
You can laugh about it, but it is so true. Take that full drawer of nothingness and make it your mind. Now, your mind is replete with utterly pointless stuff, even a used toothpick and one Panadol tablet.
Look at the stuff you keep for a special occasion. Ten-year-old bed sheets and pillow cases, who's coming, the Queen? What special occasion, that dinner set which is never used and you got when you were married and now the kids are off to college and that special occasion is still hanging fire.
How do you excel when that rusted pin and the crumpled invoice and a dead credit card circa 2009 are converted in your mind to gossip. Meaningless hours playing video games, looking at other people's lives on Facebook, filling up the mental space with clutter that would make a fighter pilot's radar a cruel travesty. Thwarted dreams like paintings left in the sun, fading but clung to, rage, revenge, plots to get even, the immolation of our pride, an inflated sense of victimisation, the wallowing in mediocrity, these are the bags we carry distracting us from the capability to do so much more.
I challenged a friend of mine with this theory that we all need reaffirmation of ourselves so we keep this rubbish as a reflection of what we have done or where we have been. He said I exaggerate. I said, okay, when did you last clear your cupboard, yes, this big monstrous looking thing here.
I do it all the time, he replied, there is nothing there I don't want. So I took him up on it and we began to pull out everything he has.
In the first five minutes, we found his college certificate he thought he had lost, a novel by James Patterson behind some shirts, a brand-new unused sweater he had forgotten was presented to him, a box of cigars now so dry they broke in his hand.
Twenty minutes into the expedition, he discovered some photographs of people he could not recognise, a video tape of Whose Life Is It Anyway?, three single socks and a bundle of at least 200 visiting cards, all brown and crumpled, and a bottle with four garlic pearls in it.
Recognise yourself.  

By Bikram Vohra

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