News24’s Craft Your Column Competition Submission My Life 25 APR 2007

news24_logo3The competition currently running on News24 caught my eye this morning so I quickly typed up a rather admittedly rambling bit of prose as an entry. Not too shabby for no thinking done about it, fabricating a topic and five minutes of work. And it falls 14 words under the 500 word limit. So here’s the first and final draft (I couldn’t be bothered to actually try and make a decent entry)

I must STRESS that this is utter rubbish.

Life in the fast lane. It would appear that this dirty phrase is now applying to almost everyone fortunate to be alive in our time. Why is it that with all todays technological advances, process reforms and higher levels of education and therefore thinking, is almost everyone you ever meet stressed out of their minds?

90% of the time the root of the stress lies at work, these poor unfortunate souls who cannot switch into casual mode after the end of day bell chime and who instead take their work home with them, ready to invade whatever little personal time they actually have left. It would seem that the increased unemployment fears as the workforce steadily increases combined with the streamlining of work processes through technology is actually causing heavier workloads. More work, same time.

Then of course there is the stress brought about finances. People who don’t have enough or arent secured for the future spend fretful days, worrying and stressing over every little penny. (Of course they generally overlook their poor investment, spending and plain life choices of course).

The stress of relationships, marriages, partners lie in wait as well, ready to sink their claws into ones mind at a moments notice. Societal stresses are ever present, people striving to reach the higher level of societys norms and expectations, stressing over every little absurd detail of pose and presence.

Life is getting faster and faster, time is flying by and we just seem to be going with the flow. Its no wonder that psychiatrists are springing up from every corner and from under every carpet. And don’t even get me started on meds – how many people do you know that arent actively taking some form of medicine or supplement.

So would I be correct is theorising that stress is a result of a person trying to achieve their perfection (well at least, that what passes for perfection in their own mind)? Stress is rooted in me wanting to be the perfect person I know I can be. I want to be successful in my work, I want more than a comfortable living and retirement plan. I want a successful marriage with a kid and a dog and maybe a kitten thrown in for fun. I want respect and want to be revered by my friends and my peers. I want to be super athletic and adored by all members of the opposite sex. In short I want everything. Its no longer about surviving anymore – its about having more than what Ill ever actually need.

The question is of course: why is it then that no one ever seems to reach this goal? Could it be impossible after all? Could we be our own worse enemies?

I let you mull over this while I overtake this slow guy in front of me. Welcome to the fast lane.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.