Saturday, June 15, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

OP-ED: No one gets out of here alive

Worrying won’t get us to where we want to go

Update : 30 May 2021, 04:14 AM

I usually have to submit a column by Friday night. It is currently Friday evening. I have no idea what I am going to write about. Looks like I am facing a writer’s block again. 

Then again, this isn’t the first time I have faced a writer’s block. I have written similar pieces over the past few months, and anyone who likes to pay attention to their Sunday newspapers might have noticed that there were entire weeks that I didn’t even write anything. And judging by my non-newspaper output from January of this year, it seems that this has been going on for a while now, and it is going to take a killing to beat it this time. 

For a writer, there are few things as scary as falling into a block. It’s like losing an imaginary limb that no one knows about but yourself, and unlike other ailments, the only one that can fix this is yourself. Sure, you can talk to other people and be comforted by their words, but the main responsibility of fixing things will ultimately come down on yourself. And I don’t know about you, but having such a weight on my shoulder is not my prospect of having a good time. 

Then again, responsibilities -- both big and small -- have always had this weight attached to them. One might think that they are following their dreams and passions, but everything boils down to work and responsibility in the end. But I do think that terms such as “work” and “responsibility” get a bad rap in popular culture. While tackling these things can be hard and tedious, the same thing can be fun and rewarding as well, even within the process. 

For example, I had been dreading sitting down to write something for a while now. In fact, I have been dreading this moment this entire week. But compared to the paralyzing fear I felt in the moments I thought about it, the actual process of writing is feeling very rewarding right now. I had to put in the first sentence, sure, but once that was done, and once I got into the act of writing, things seemed to flow from there. 

Before long, the wheels inside my head began to turn and old memories began to come out of their hiding places inside my head, with one particular memory that took place in 2011 right after Rojar Eid (something I might write about the next week). But at the same time, I have been reminiscing for a while now, so it feels proper to go back to a more abstract piece for this week. Plus, this topic of blocks and other things are a general pet peeve of mine, so it’s better to exercise it. 

Also, diving right into something and facing one’s responsibilities head on also helps with mindfulness, with the realization of what’s important. The mindfulness part is easy. When you are heavily invested in a task, you become more attuned to the present, instead of the shaky temporal state one has during the times one worries about the future. This state is much more comfortable and much more relaxing to be in. One might still suffer from the nervous jitters, sure, but it beats having to worry so much due to what is essentially an overinflated form of procrastination. 

And as stated, jumping right in puts things into perspective, and shines a light on what is more important. 

For example, I have always wanted to be a writer that pushes boundaries, and I still do. I try to do something original and exciting with everything I make, and I spend a painful amount of time planning things out in order to get there. But at the same time, I want to do that because I want to have a good life, and I want to have fun while writing. If I turn it into such a stressful affair, then the reason I have wanted to do it turns to nothing. If one is so afraid of the destination, then the journey becomes pointless as well. 

So, while the block is scary, there might be more to it than that. And this applies for other vocations as well. If you are worried about a sale, why not just do it. Worrying is not going to accomplish much, and as long as one is trying to move forward, there are ways. And at the end of the day, everything is just a job. There is no reason to take things so seriously and kill ourselves in the process. Van Gogh did the same, and while we applaud him, he had to lose his life in the process.

It’s just life. No one gets out of here alive. 

We might as well try to live while we can.

Nafis Shahriar is a student of business and an intern at the Dhaka Tribune.

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