The curse of the modern individual

The curse of the modern individual

Today my first client died. But not before he taught me a valuable lesson.

The street was flooding like my mind whilst I was listening in. It’d been raining all week.

You see I’d gotten lucky. How I stumbled upon this client I’ll never know. Those are the best kinds of relationships the ones which are unplanned.

He spoke about his life. How he’d seen things differently and decided he could create his own path. This got me leaning in. The whole time I wondered why such a man chose me, what could I offer? Then I realised that’s no way of thinking. I’ve got plenty to offer. It happened again. He tied it together for me. You had to be sceptical and confident in your own work at the same time.

The one which floored me was about the action generation.

“That’s the curse of the modern individual,” he said, “being successful rather than being a person.”

I couldn’t breathe. Let alone talk. He kept going.

“They live by the motto of do more, feel less.”

“What do you do?”

“That’s easy my friend, don’t get lured into thinking having more makes you more of a person, feel what’s going on around you,” he said, “you can tell how well satisfied you are within yourself by how you feel at the end of a day where you’ve helped no one nor contributed anything.”

My gut sunk. The same feeling you get when you jump off something high. I felt a door open inside me. He stopped. Turned his head left and right.

“Look around," he said, "if this isn’t beautiful, what is?”

We walked across the road, stepped over the puddles. The girl from the cafe smiled as we walked in.

“When did you figure that out?”

“It’s one of the pleasures of getting old. It’s funny. Life works in reverse. You only realise what really matters looking backwards.”

Our coffees came. The rain started again. I looked out the window, watched the cars go by. It was like I had a new set of eyes. The pieces of the puzzle fell together. Up until this point I’d been an unsuccessful searcher. Successful on the outside but the opposite on the inside. Now it was clear. I was looking for the wrong thing.

This article originally had a different cover image. Noah sketched out a better one and sent me it. I copied Noah's image and changed the original. Thank you Noah.