Had a dream last night where I was back in the army. As the rest of the guys went through some sort of marksmanship obstacle course, I found myself sitting it out and feeling lousy for not being able to contribute to the unit’s score.
That’s been a feeling that has defined quite a bit of who I am for my adult life.
When I was in school I never saw the need for homework, and for the most part, never did it for the subjects I knew I’d never pursue anyway. It felt like it took too much effort to move thoughts from my head to paper.
So I’ve had a decade of schooling with many teachers who labelled me as lazy out of sheer exasperation. I didn’t think I was - I just wanted to spend time on more important things like daydreaming. Come to think of it, the time spent making fighter jets out of mechanical pencils and rulers gave me a pretty solid foundation in physics. I’ve yet to test my theories on manipulating spacecraft in zero gravity, borne from hours and hours spent playing with the geometry set we used in primary four.
It was in the polytechnic where I applied myself a little more diligently, but it was in the army where I learnt that limits were figments of the imagination, meant to be broken when a higher purpose called for it. It was there where I found that you could hone your body to run almost endlessly so long as you had food and water.
But it was also in the army where I tore my shoulder and had to drop out of training. I compensated by helping the unit out any way I could as a dropout. I swung around the monkey bars at the obstacle course with a piece of cloth to keep them dry for my mates so they’d have a better grip. It was only when I washed my hands that I discovered that the skin had shorn off my palms.
Looking back, I’ve really taken this mentality into my approach to work. Just in the last few years I’ve pulled myself back to the office four days after a hernia operation, totally ignored a nasty fall off my skatescooter where I hurt my elbow and wrist, and in the last few days, worked with sinusitis that makes me face feel like it is about to implode.
It is not that I serve under oppressive bosses. My bosses have been more than nice. Some part of me just ascertained, rightly or wrongly, that the mission objectives are greater than myself.
But I no longer have the immunity of youth, and putting my own wellbeing at the very bottom of family, work and country is really starting to take it toll. The sage advice has something to do with marathons and sprints, and well-meaning friends and family are probably right dispensing this advice.
I miss writing, taking photographs, and daydreaming. I’m probably more effective when I do these things habitually, and at some point I will need to rework my life to include time for rejuvenation and reimagination.
I hope to blog more. It’s been a good 13 years.