Now that existential crises are a weekly occurrence, I find myself occupying my days attempting to solve life’s unrelenting mysteries: Why am I here? What does it all mean? Should I give a shit about my job, and instead optimise my leisure time? Should I pursue a ‘career’ – whatever the fuck that means? These abounding thoughts take sail across the turbulent seas of my mind, failing to ever reach shore. I go about my days sullenly contemplating why I should even go about my day in the first place. I simply cannot provide an answer for any of the questions I burden myself with. I often think ignorance really is bliss in that to have read single book constitutes the fatal flaw of sentient inquisitiveness. Because once one begins to learn, one realises that there is far more to learn, and far too much to learn in a single lifetime to ever be truly satisfied.
Yet to stop learning is to regress equally, if not more, than to augment one’s knowledge about the world further. It’s like I have been coerced into running on a treadmill at 20mph with no off button. If I am to stop running, then I will invariably faceplant, which I suspect will hurt, a lot. Though if I choose to keep on running, being the dirty smoker that I am, then exhaustion must surely ensue? Neither option appears that alluring. It sounds all so petulant and sanctimonious, but I genuinely think this applies to a lot of people. Lost in a world of harsh greys and metallic decay. Where overcast skies settle ominously and unapologetically.
The ether of time frightens me, in that it forces me to question whether I can bear the brunt of life’s unanswerable questions and endless days of general nothingness. But I still have hope, and although hope can be a dangerous thing, it alleviates somewhat. And in my case, this hope takes the form of a Mr David Brent, a man who we can all learn a lot from. During the final stages of the last ever episode of The Office, Brent opines what he believes to be the key essentials for a joyous time on this earth. They are as follows:
A philosopher once wrote: you need three things to have a good life. One, a meaningful relationship. Two, a decent job of work. And three, to make a difference. And it was always that third one that stressed me, to make a difference. And then I realised, I do. Every single day, we all do. It’s how we interact with our fellow man.
How beautiful is that? As I write this, all I long for is to shake Mr Brent’s hand and to thank him for illuminating me! For it to truly resonate you must watch it in its original form, but simply reading the words from a screen evokes within me something I haven’t felt in a long while: gratitude. It serves as a candid reminder that the answers to life’s questions needn’t be grandiose. Endeavouring to make a difference can often be at the expense of the small few in this world who truly give a fuck about you because most people don’t. But that doesn’t matter at the end of the day. We are not on this planet long enough to make everyone like us. Brent reminds us that simple gestures of love can go a long way, and can satiate our burning desires far more than any elaborate quest for inner fulfilment ever could.
But forget about all that morbid shite. While The Office does have a tendency to lull us into a state of pensiveness, its main objective is to make us laugh, which it excels at. Sometimes it just isn’t worth thinking too much about. I reckon we all need to stop worrying about whether we’ve impressed enough people, and instead concern ourselves with having a good ol’ chortle. After all, if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.
Written by Tedd Askin