Today was the first day back at work after a fabulous week of surfing in Morocco, as I put my ID badge over my head it felt like I was putting my shackles back on , signifying the end of a week of freedom. In a landlocked office full of mostly married or seriously attached ladies, many of whom have children and grandchildren I’m a bit of an oddity. I’m not odd at all in my own world, in fact I’m quite run of the mill really but, in this environment I’m not with people who have similar interests and I don’t fit nicely into any of the normal boxes; over 40, single, no kids and not even living in a grown up house. I can’t join in the lengthy chats about the kids or the DIY job my husband did at the weekend and equally when I harp on about surfing or a band I caught at the weekend the conversation peters out pretty swiftly.
So, I arrived at work still stoked, tanned and blue-eyed from my trip but, I quickly remembered, nobody is really interested. Nobody cares about how this was one of the best surf trips we have ever done or that I conquered some fears, paddling out despite taking a big fat set on the head and not skulking back to the white water. I must note that thanks to Freya screaming ‘facking paddle’ at me I got out to the back and I was able to chuck myself onto some sweet green waves. More to come about the trip in my next post .
I walked into office, grunted a hello, sat down, briefly said I’d had an awesome holiday, looked out of the window thinking about this time 48 hours ago and I immediately felt like bashing my head on the table and yelling ‘fuck this shit’ at the top of my voice. I fired up the computer, my emails filled the screen and dazzled my eyes and I looked at all the post it notes and papers that had been left on my desk. Urgghhhh, I thought, how can this be my life? I was back to feeling like a fish out of water, desperate for an escape plan. Despite my promises to myself to try to be more positive at work I was already joining in the moaning. The familiar feeling of loathing every task I had to do, wanting to punch every sender of a stupid email or asker of a stupid question returned to me quite quickly as if I’d never been away.
darkness in the city of light
Making tea is one of my temporary escapes at work which is why I drink about 12 cups a day. While I waited for the kettle to boil something dawned on me. This morning in many work places there would be more than 120 empty seats that would normally be occupied. There were colleagues not daring to ask but, hoping, praying to a god they had maybe never believed in that the empty seat at the desk over there was down to the cold that swept the office last week, or that the teacher who hadn’t arrived to teach a class had just got stuck in traffic on the way to work, that the young waitress in the coffee shop who was always there on a monday morning had just taken a holiday. 120 seats that will be empty again tomorrow. 120 seats that belonged to someone’s best friend, child, girlfriend, father, mother. 120 seats, empty.
What happened in Paris on Friday shook us all, we could all have been that guy at the gig or the friends sitting in the restaurant enjoying a glass of wine when all hell broke loose, people like you and me just gone in the blink of an eye with no warning, futures never to be realised and chairs left empty.
This made me think, I should be more grateful for what I have. I should be more positive and make the most of things and try to see the best in everything because life is short and my problems are trivial. But, then it struck me, just how lucky I am to have trivial problems.
I’m grateful I can moan about my job, that I even have a job to moan about. I’m grateful I have a severe case of the holiday blues, that I hate being so far from the sea and feel sorry for myself because I can’t surf every day and that I have a fat belly. I’m grateful that my colleagues would rather coo over pictures of someones stupid new kitchen than see my amazing surfing pictures and that my boss sends me too many emails. I’m grateful that I despise the majority of the meaningless tasks I have to do at work and that I’m frustrated that I can’t be creative.
We can’t go around pretending to absolutely love everything we have to do just incase something bad happens to us tomorrow, that is not reality. Reality is the day-to-day hum drum, it’s the boring aswell as the exhilarating it’s the things that irritate and grind us down aswell as the things that make us happy. Yes, of course hug the people you love a little tighter and run towards your dreams a little quicker but, appreciate the hum drum too, the fact that I can have a good moan about the trivialities of my day means that my that my heart is still beating in my chest and that my seat is not one of the empty ones.