BY SEREN TANAKA LLOYD JONES (@SERENTLJONES).
It was 8:47am on Friday April 22nd when I received a voice note from Roxy, a friend I love dearly but don’t manage to see often enough. The voice note was 90 seconds long, she’s checking in as it’s been a while, and she’s right, we last caught up in early December. “You appeared in two of my dreams recently” she began, “and you seemed to be really sad” she continued.
It was 7:30pm by the time I emerged from the hellish haze of a 12-hour work day, made more unforgiving by the ever-regular, but never-welcome descent of hormones, cramps, and general discomfort. I filled her in on the last few months starting with the truth - over-working, a surprise hen-do I threw, a new gym membership - and ending with the Truth:
“All I do is work - is this it?”
I’m well acquainted with this thought - it’s arrival is predictable, recurring, sometimes erupting out of me through tears, other times a quiet, calm, and rational observation.
I work a lot. The day job takes up 4 long days, the founder job 1.5 longer days, leaving a very humble, very short, 0.5 days to squeeze in workouts, seeing my friends and family, and having some semblance of a dating life.
…is that it?
I whisper when I write this, but I wish I didn’t fall in love with the grind. I talk not of rags-to-riches tropes or whatever is posted on that instagram account Female Hustlers, but rather, the much more dystopian space of never knowing boredom, of filling every moment. Of life being so full that you can no longer keep a grasp on it, no longer keep a lid on it, and things start to slip, to escape. And then you start to slip, to escape, to become foggy in the mind, to burn out.
I’ve always been impressionable - it’s a blessing and a curse - and the paradigm of ‘putting in work’ is well and truly impressed on my psyche.
I long to relax my face and unclench my jaw without being told to do so. To have the spirit of Thanos, after he’s disintegrated half of the world’s population in Avengers: Endgame - Ease. I’d like to just be. I do, I long for it.
And then my Gmail starts pinging.
And so, I reacquaint with my dystopia for a little while longer.