I feel miserable and lost, and consequently threaten transformation again


While walking out of the Carrefour this evening with more cheap VCDs and two boxes of cereal, the idea formed in my head that I am to a great extent an unhappy person. Like everyone I have my better moments, but to be honest, I’ve been miserable since I finished high school (even that phase of my life wasn’t exactly a hedonistic hell ride). It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock for you as reader by now, and it was certainly no secret to myself.

The reason for my continued wretchedness is simple to pin down, since I spend most of my days and nights in deep contemplation looking for causes for just such dilemmas. I find it difficult, even impossible, to commit myself to the mainstream of life (or then, my caricature of the so-called mainstream) within which most of my contemporaries live out their existence.

Why this lack of enthusiasm? Long story short, I believe death is always imminent. And because of the shadows cast by my former beliefs I also believe that when you stand in front of the Gates of Heaven and Hell, you will be asked to explain what you have done with your life.

If you answered that you had a good job and had been an asset to the company, the response will, in my opinion, be that it’s not good enough. If you continue by adding that you were also involved in an intimate relationship, and that your relationship was a beautiful example to other people, the answer might spark a smile, but not much more. The initial reactions might make you nervous, and you might modify your story as a result. You could say that you and your partner had already produced a little descendant, and a second one was on its way. “Congratulations!” the Gatekeeper might say, “But please continue.”

If, on the other hand, so I believe, you were in a position to say, “I wrote a book about the meaning of life, and I felt really miserable most of the time,” you may just have half a chance of a place in paradise.

* * *

Here I am, then, with a bowl of fresh cereal, scribbling more notes about my miserable existence, searching for better answers about the purpose and meaning of my life than the ones I’ve already formulated.

The fact that I vacated the apartment I had lived in for 56 months at exactly 16:39 this afternoon doesn’t fill me with how I imagine an acid trip would feel like. I feel somewhat lost. And the cockroaches in my new headquarters are not conducive to a better mood. The dark green sheet I’ve draped in front of my living room windows also seems to have an unpleasant effect on me – an awareness of intense isolation.

Despite all this, I cling to the belief that a new phase of my life is ahead of me. I am indeed currently considering a transformation of my whole being – a complete metamorphosis. I’m fed up with being miserable. I’m fed up with not “knowing”. I’m tired of floating around like a charred piece of newspaper at a Saturday afternoon braai. I am even getting very dissatisfied with my current financial situation. I’m also tired of cockroaches, damp floors, air pollution, broken washing machines, toilets where the ring and the lid are different, equally nefarious colours, and of bathtubs just big enough to squeeze my big toe in.

I plan to finish this writing project and then to qualify myself as … an accountant. I would be unrecognisable to friend, foe and family. I will wear an expensive suit to the office, and a luxury watch will dangle off my left wrist. On my feet I will sport the best quality shoes – with socks. And I will drive a car, and occupy a new house – without cockroaches, in the right part of town.

Do I plan to sell out? Definitely. I plan to do everything in my power to renounce my current beliefs. I will do my best to cultivate shame for my years of poverty and creative ambitions. I will burn all my notebooks. I will never own a pen again, unless it’s a gold pen gifted to me by a company for years of faithful service. I will work late every night in desperate hope of promotion. I’ll get married and have two children, but I won’t even touch a lawnmower because it will be beneath my new status.

I will be a poster boy for perfect happiness. And I will forget that there was ever a time in my life that I didn’t “know”, or that I tried to “understand”.

At this point, I have to interrupt myself, though. My laundry needs hanging out, and I have to go to the 7-Eleven to buy cockroach traps. And after this latest eruption my notebook is getting dangerously close to its final page. Plus, I definitely need a new pen …