there is always an apple at the start of our problems (the scenic route – pt. 3)

He closed his notebook, gulped down the last of his now-cold-coffee and made his way home. His walk home took him down an old street of semi-detached homes.

He couldn’t help but glance inside one of the houses. Through a window he saw a man sitting on a recliner, watching television. In the next window was a woman. She sat at her computer. The computer had a glowing apple, which someone had taken a bite from. She caught him staring. He quickly turned his head. He thought,

There is always an apple at the start of our problems.

The young man didn’t care for computers. He was satisfied with a sharp pencil and a few blank pieces of paper. He would also rather walk than drive. He preferred the radio over television. He travelled 60 minutes every Sunday night to visit his parents because (in his own words) “a 2 hour dinner conversation once a week is infinitely more meaningful than sending text messages every day”.

He was an analog living in a digital world.

He wasn’t your normal 20-something year old. The interesting things which preoccupy the minds of most teenagers really didn’t stick to him. Drinking, sex, going to Cancun on Spring Break, having a car; those sort of things never teased his teenage desires.

He never felt as though he was missing anything, until now.

If you asked him when this slight feeling of angst started he would say

I had just graduated college and was ready to start working. I had a number of promising jobs lined up. I took the one that was best for me. Months later I was sitting in the food court. It was a Tuesday. I was wearing the same suit I had on last Tuesday. That scared the hell out of me. I haven’t been the same since.

Since then it has been a bit of a quarter-life crisis.

He tried solidifying his identity through his job: he couldn’t.

He tried solidifying his identity with his girlfriend: he couldn’t.

During lunch and after work he would find himself inside bookstores, skimming over the “The Four-Hour Work Week”, “The Secret”, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes” and a few dozen others.

As far as he could tell, the sort of life being sold had to do with self-awareness, self-identity, self-actualization and self-empowerment.

It all had to do with a life based around the “self”.

This troubled the young man.

How could anyone be pretentious enough to think that they are capable of fulfilling, actualizing, empowering and finding their identity, within themselves?

The young man never broke the law and was in the eyes of those around him a very moral and nobel person. But he knew himself better.

Sure, he would often do good things; random acts of kindness. He would buy coffee for the person standing behind him and spend his Saturday mornings as a Big Brother.

But those were simply things he did. That was not who he was. 

He knew that his job would eventually change, that his girlfriend and him only had a 50% chance and that his portfolio fluctuated like the weather.

He wondered how people could put their trust and hope in things so fragile and finite.

How could he put his trust in himself?

So fragile.

So finite.

His desire was for something bigger. Something infinite. Something impossible.

He arrived at his condo building and went upstairs. He made dinner and sat at the dinner table, still troubled.

The good news was that this was bothering him.

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Categories: the scenic route

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