I’ve been bobbing through the past few weeks or months, in a daze and spinning through the maddening cycles of utter depression to momentary highs of optimism and energy.
I notice that I’ve picked up a new habit of chiding myself for the way I think and the way I view life after starting to read “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson. While the title seems to imply that it will teach you indifference, the message so far is that you should spare your concern and energy for the things that really matter. And of course, there are other lessons in there built upon that dogma, such as the fact that happiness is a problem – that we derive happiness from solving the problems we face, not from having no problems. So I try to stay optimistic, and while I know it’s impossible to stay optimistic 100% of the time, it’s also really tiring to have down days where you feel utterly useless and exhausted.
Philosophy on the Quay
Well, I’m not completely sure if “quay” is the right term, but I like the word more than “dock” or “pier”. It reminds me of the lyrics in “Après un Rêve” composed by Gabriel Fauré.
On Saturday and Sunday night, K and I took breaks and walked out from our workplace to the docks to see the ships. The journey on foot took just ten minutes, and the ships, obscured by trees and the all sorts of structures on the way, looked like buildings until you were actually right on the dock.
It was completely breathtaking, being next to these mammoth vessels – just within your reach if you dared to lean out over the water. Seeing pictures and diagrams is nothing compared to being next to those monsters, illuminated menacingly in the otherwise pitch black night. We saw the crew scattered around the various nooks and crannies of the ship, some scrambling around, others sitting casually as if waiting for something to occupy themselves with.
I kept remarking how for seafarers, their entire lives are on those ships.
The dock was like a huge runway lined on one side by the ships, and otherwise surrounded by jet black planes that could have been the vast hollow of outer space. The horizon extended in an expansive circle around us, lined with golden lights in the distance – cities, ports, harbours, distant little worlds condensed into glowing specks.
I turned around to look back on where we had come from: the buildings were all tiny, familiar and comforting, but also reduced to the same microscopic and obscure shapes as all the other golden lights twinkling where the sun met the sea and land.
A plane flew overhead, a shooting star.
We philosophised. K told me about “The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters” by Emily Esfahani Smith and “Life of Pi” by “Yann Martel”.
And this is the point where I grew too drained to continue writing, before saving the post as a draft and never touching it for months.