As the brightness of the desert sun tries to slither its way through my thin curtains, I slowly open my eyes and feel a sudden burst of throbbing pain on my brow; a pain threatening to burst my eyeballs out of its sockets. I inhale deeply and all I can smell is the noxious aftermath of fumes from vodka, cigarettes and lingering perfume.
I check my phone. A text message, a couple of missed calls. Its 11am on a Friday morning in Dubai. I pull the covers over my head, but its useless, the sun has entered the room and I’m faced with the reality of dealing with another hangover day. The shower may have washed away the grimes of a dodgy nightclub and even dodgier post-inebriation meal, but not the liquor residue from my brain nor the continued throb behind my left eye socket.
As I take in bacon & eggs and a full fat coke I piece together the events from the night before – blurry snapshots of wine glasses, flashing lights and dubious dancing bubble up in my head. I file them away into my growing archive of other late night post mortem memories and think to myself “What am I doing here”?
I do this week in, week out. With my group of friends we travel on a mission every weekend to get absolutely, mind shatteringly, completely and nonsensically blotto. But then what? Why do we do this to ourselves? Of course its all marvellously fun, however getting closer to my thirties, I wonder how many more nights (and days after) do I need to feel like this? Is this what my life really is all about?
Flashback to 2006. I was a very different person. I was married. I had a great job and just bought a house in the suburbs. I was content and life was good. Hangover days were few and far between, and Friday nights consisted mostly of home cooked pasta, one bottle of wine and a good chick flick. Then, when I separated from my ex husband 2 years later I was thrust out into the world of singledom and found myself free of the humdrum of domestic life. I felt it was the chance to live my twenties as I should have. Young, unattached and free. My purpose was just to be.
I discovered that Bullfrogs and Passion Beauties were not names of Arabian-bred race horses but intoxicating (and hugely addicting) cocktails. I learnt that love, sex and relationships were a lot different (and far more complicated) than they were ‘back in my day’. I was opened up to a whole world of brunching and binge drinking and partying till sunrise. And as great as all those experiences were, I had always found myself questioning the purpose of it all.
“You always do this”, said an ex boyfriend of mine once. ” You get too deep. You worry too much about the future that you don’t enjoy the present moment”. But didn’t he ever think about what this was all for? How could he not think about it? The love between us had never been lacking, but in the end, this same unanswered question had led to our demise.
As a typical sagittarian I contemplate a lot about my life’s purpose. How I’ll end up, what’s going to happen, what are my plans. I can only guess that my insecurities about ‘the future’ may have stemmed from my marriage break up. I was no longer looking through rose-tinted glasses and I became fearful and paranoid around those who couldn’t guarantee me a fulfilled and secure life. And maybe my ex was onto something, my ‘search’ for a future blinded me from enjoying the wonderful times that were happening right in front of me. In questioning too much, I’d lose touch with living in the moment. And while these questions in my head will never stop, every now and then I need to tell myself to just sit and enjoy the ride. There is a great quote form Paulo Coelho‘s book, The Zahir (great read by the way) about trying to find the meaning of life whilst also living the moment:
“All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.”
We are all searching for something. Most of us don’t know what. But I guess what Paulo is trying to tell us here is that the clues and lessons to our life’s purpose, our meaning, our futures, can be found if we pay attention in living in the now.
My mobile suddenly comes to life with a familiar chime and jolts me out of my thoughts. Its a text from one of my girlfriends: “I missed out last night, dying for a drink lets go!”
Another night out? Another hangover day? Will having another Passion Beauty bring me closer to finding my life purpose? I toss it up in my head. Live for the moment. Carpe diem.
Then I find my nimble fingers thumbing out the text “Why not, fancy a PB? See you in a bit”
I hit send and run out the door.