Who Would Have Thought?

Vincent van Gogh — Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity’s Gate)

I found myself today reminiscing about old times. Old times in my case being two or three years ago, having barely started the second half of my twenties. I remembered good times with friends. I remembered some old romantic interests. I remember that one of those interests was a girl a few years younger than I am; we attended a talk on the history of science. I remember asking the professor whether they would be willing to offer a course on the subject, and the immediate next idea that came to my mind, now, while reminiscing, is “who would have thought?”

Who would have thought that my country would deteriorate to a worse state than the one it was in? Who would have thought that I would be separated from my friends? From my romantic interests? That my parents’ security would be threatened? That they would lose all they cared about? Who would have thought that all the optimism we had would be proven, without a doubt, to be misplaced?

We led our young adult lives, my circle of friends and I, fantasizing about our futures. We thought we would secure our dream jobs, live in the same area, and lead lives that we saw only in television series. Now each one is on the path toward their dream career, yet we are all miserable, lost, and confused. At what point did it go wrong? Was it when our country went to shit? Was it when we couldn’t all live together? Was it wrong from the start? A futile exercise in imaginative creativity?

We tend to think that the world is a fucked up place. At some point in our lives, we realized that the world is much more fucked up than we originally thought, that’s why we’re miserable. Yet there are people in the same positions as us who do not seem to be unhappy, at least not as chronically miserable as we are. The world was always fucked up, and people still survived it. So what is different now, if anything? One thing that may be different is our heightened awareness of the world around us, the constant flux of bad news, events, and thoughts. In his Notes from Underground, Dostoyevsky said: “I swear that too great a lucidity is a disease.” And unfortunately, this disease is shoved into all the pores of our bodies, forcefully, and there is no escape.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store