As the years go by, I find that my eagerness to get to the workplace is precipitously on the decline. There used to be a time when I used to be at work at 7 am, sometimes even opening the office myself. Those hours of quiet time before the rest of the staff arrived were some of my most productive hours. And I used to invariably carry work home, and burn the midnight oil.
That image of myself seems so elusive now. Each morning I need to drag myself out of bed. There is no enthusiasm to get to work. It seems like drudgery which I am compelled to do. I find myself working mechanically in clockwork fashion from 9 to 5. And after I reach home nothing can make me think about office. I desperately crave for my me-time.
After years of giving long hours to the workplace, it now seems unfulfilling. Does anyone even care? Is it appreciated? Worse, is it even acknowledged? You are just another cog in the wheel. No one even bothers about giving feedback to you either. The machinery will work whether you exist or don’t. Is it even worth stressing yourself out? What has caused this complete turnaround? It sometimes perplexes me. But to be honest, this change doesn’t make me unhappy.
I sat down and tried to think of what I enjoy doing most. And I ended up with very simple things. Lying down with a book which made me think. Sitting down with my laptop and learning more about people and places, history and happenings. Blending with nature, inhaling pure air and capturing birds in my camera. Cooking up an innovative dish instinctively. Learning and exploring new ideas, then simplifying the topic and teaching it in an interesting manner. And most of all, writing my thoughts down.
None of these activities depend on what others think of me. None of these need external acknowledgement or appreciation. I am not looking for either reward or recognition. And yet these are things which make me feel complete and content. So what was my earlier avatar running after? My triggers for satisfaction then depended on other people. I looked out for praise and affirmation. But then external triggers have always been fickle.
With age, now none of that matters. Today, if I can contribute creatively to something, if I find something challenging, if I enjoy bringing new ideas to a team, if I can make a difference to something — I am glad to jump in. The rest doesn’t capture my interest or imagination. My triggers lie in pursuing my interests and passions. Somehow, being bound by tedious spreadsheets and documents seems tiresome, when the mind is seeking newer pastures to explore. If I do not stretch my horizons to my fullest potential now, then when?