I was a high functioning workaholic in my 20s. It took me to stress health issues, abusive relationships, bad decisions. A frenzied mind does not have room for joy or the capacity to relax. It’s hard to answer the question, Are You Happy?

It’s called workaholism because it is an addiction, an escape. I’ve been trying to disengage my self-worth from my productivity for years since then. It’s not easy because we live in a world where our common definitions of value at every level are based on efficiency, productivity & wealth. Not satisfaction, contentment or health.

When you ask most people about their weekend, they list things they accomplished or checked off. Or  a defiant admission of having slept/drunk/smoked up. How often do you find yourself thinking “I was happy, I smiled a lot, felt very good after a good meal & great sleep”? Those words didn’t cross my lips once in over a decade.

These days I’m seeing a lot of my alter-selves display the same frenzy as we cope with lockdown. There is defiant raging against something called ‘toxic positivity’ which TBH confuses me because how can anything positive be toxic? No, don’t tell me. I don’t have FOMO. If I don’t like something, I exit, switch off, turn away.

I haven’t acquired a new employable skill, notched up an impressive already-read/watched list, baked something pretty. But I have experienced panic, joy, loneliness, relief, irritation, inspiration. After years of boredom & lack of inspiration, I am suddenly feeling. And I’m writing. This is the very stuff of life for me. It doesn’t happen on a plan & the compulsive organiser in me is happy to be taken by surprise. Life is very dull when you know it all.

The next time I step onto a stage will be a celebration. The next time I stand on a beach will be a homecoming. The next time I hug somebody will be ressurrection. The next time I travel by train will be reunion with the city I love. The next time I see some of you, I will get to fall in love again. I can hardly wait. Anticipation isn’t desperation. It lifts me, it doesn’t consume me. I just have to let it happen.


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