The long walk home

long walk

It’s a long walk home.

Tired. Weak. Restless.

All the negative emotions boiled up from 9-to-5. I wish i could say that only happens today.

No. It’s not only today.

It’s been the same feeling, every day, for the last 35 years. Now, I’m a 54 years old Chief Financial Executive, old, divorced. Walking home in a long public commute alone.

Self-consciously wondering if anyone is looking at me with pity. I hate that. Hate that a lot.

Argh. Home.

If only my house could even be called home. It’s nothing more than a place with a bed for the night. A place I’ve been paying rent for as long as I can remember. On paper, it’s said i own it.

In truth? It’s not really mine. The bank still owns it. I’ve still got a few years more to go on my mortgage. It’s a house where I envisioned a happy family life. Yet, at 54 years old, I’m alone and lonely. Has been this way for the last 30 years or so. It’s my fault. That’s why I’m depressed. It as if I’m in a black hole, falling through infinity, in a pitch-black bottomless pit of sorrow and regrets.

Sometimes, well most of the times, I wonder how life went so much wrong. I was young, energetic, ambitious, fierce. I used to jump out of bed, looking forward to life’s next great adventure. Now? Well, I dreaded going to the office, the very thought of long arduous never-ending meetings makes me nauseous.

But for no good reason, I kept doing the same routine for the majority of my life. Maybe that’s what went wrong.

Now? I’m just a tired old man. Still doing my 9-to-5, but with longer hours and worse stress. People used to talk about work-life balance. If there’s any such thing, maybe I won’t end up this way. Maybe my wife wouldn’t leave me. Maybe I’m still going home to the warmth of a happy home, instead of a dark gloomy house.

Success and money now have no value to me. I can’t eat much, my diabetes, and gout won’t let me. I can’t party, I’m too old. I just another sad old fat guy, with the money I can’t spend, and work that I hate with people who wish to see me dead. Or worse. What’s worse than death? Maybe a walking dead. I felt that I’ve been dead for more than 30 years, it just that I’ve yet to be buried. Talking about death, I wonder, who would even come to my funeral. Would my ex-wife and son be there? I hope that they will, although I couldn’t really ask them to be there. I couldn’t, or maybe shouldn’t ask them to. Since I’ve done nothing for them. It’s always about me. The great and mighty me. And even the great and mighty me got old.

Now at 54 years old, in the absence of a family, all I have is regrets and money.

Regrets. Maybe regrets really is the worse emotion humanity can felt. It’s the emotion which depresses me crushed my soul. My worse regret is my career. My long successful career. The ambitions I’d traded for happiness and warmth.

Not intentionally of course. I paid to much attention to my career and none to my wife, or rather ex-wife in this case and family. She was sweet and caring, loving beyond compare.

Me? I was selfish. No wonder she bailed out. I would if I’m were her. I would have bailed out sooner than she did.

At times, I still stalked her Facebook, at least she’s happy. Our son grew up just fine, dutiful to his mother at least.

Me? I just tried to keep my distance.

I feel that I don’t deserve their kindness or affection. I was truly a terrible husband, a worse father.

Nevertheless, I got everything I ever wanted from my career, CFO of the organisation I worked for for the past 35 years. Everyone bow their head when they see me. But then again, maybe it was due to fear, not respect. Most certainly not love. I often hear whispers of them, gossipping about me, along the corridor, in the pantry. I just act like I heard nothing. It seems that I’ve somewhat become a great actor after decades of acting deaf to those gossips.

Again, a long walk home.

I’m rich but still had to walk home. Unless my gout acting up, then, Jefry would take me home. Jefry is my driver. He’s kind and thoughtful. He’s around the same age as my son, who I wished I knew better. I even wished I knew Jefry better.

I had no choice. I have to take the long walk home because I’m depressed. The therapist said it would help if I were to exercise and walk a bit more.

A long walk home. To rest and restart the same cycle of doom again tomorrow.

It’s only one more years to retirement. And at the end of my career, it seems. I can no longer go higher, I can’t be the CEO, people don’t like me that much. Plus, I’m too old for office politics anyways. And in retirement, I lost one of the things I’ve chased all my life, I lost the power that comes with my position. Everything I worked for, gone in a year, and my position is to be replaced by someone younger. And as the hearsay goes, someone much better than me.

At the end of my career, millions in my bank account and it meant nothing.

My name at the corner office, at least for another year, yet I’m alone and lonely.

I got a driver, yet I have to take a long walk home.

I had a loving family yet I threw it all away.

I threw it all away.

I threw it all away.

For all the things that I now have, they now have neither value nor meaning to me.

Ironic isn’t it. The thing that I was chasing all along was happiness.

I already got that in the beginning. A happy man with his wife and son.

Yet I threw it all away. I threw it all away for riches and power. Riches which now meant nothing, and power that will be gone in a year.

I’ve got the riches and the power I was looking for, only but for a moment.

I’m just a rich powerful but sad and depressed old man. Who had everything he ever truly wanted in life but threw it all away for something he thought he wanted, but in the end meant- nothing.

Written by — MAB


Morals of the story:

Life is about purpose, meaning and servitude for others. Life most of the time isn’t about us. So, before going in all out in something you think you want, try and dig harder. Ask yourself, is this truly what you want?

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا ۖ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ ۚ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ – 57:20

Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.

Quran Chapter 57 verse 20 (Surah Al-Hadid ayah 20)

You really don’t want to have any regrets at the end of your life. Read more about depression and work-life balance through the links below.

This is my first short story, maybe too short. I’m just getting started. I read too much non-fiction, maybe I need to start reading more novels.

So, please share your recommendation on the best novel you’ve ever read in the comment section below. Preferably, not an adult novel (no 18+ kind of book), full of wisdom, with lots of beautiful quotes.

Read More on Depression and mental health

Read more on work-life balance

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Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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