Lifelong Work

June 20, 2021

Anthony could not picture the future beyond the end of Autumn. This was unusual, because he was as able to imagine the far future as anyone else. Better, perhaps.

In his mind’s eye, the months and years had always laid spread out as an abstract footpath, as yet unpaved and untrodden. He sometimes wondered whether other people saw it the same way he did, or whether his was a unique visualisation. Anthony often wondered about things like that: whether his inner vision used the same metaphors as everyone else. Sometimes he worried about it; most of the time he gave it no thought.

But as this year wored on, somehow nothing – not even empty calendar dates – appended itself to his internal schedule. He worried he was becoming depressed. He’d read that an inability to project oneself into the future was a common symptom.

He consulted a doctor, but was summarily brushed off with a barely disguised distain.

But in truth he didn’t even feel sad, let alone depressed. But his work life was the best it had yet been – he was so ensconced in current issues and making excellent progress he’d made at work that, for the first time in his life, he was content with the present, excited for the immediate week ahead. He then surmised that, rather than being depressed, it was the opposite: he was living in the moment, for the moment.

His primary project, the one he’d worked on for his whole time as the company, was coming to fruition. As the deadline approached it took up the whole of his waking consciousness. He was in too deep to spare any mind to what would come after.

He He contented himself with thoughts that he had achieved a separation from the painful striving of his youth. He had arrived.

On the Monday of the project’s final week, he arrived at work to be greeted by his team leader, and a room full of his colleagues. There was a celebratory feel in the air, and it made Anthony feel good. He shook hands with his colleagues, a mixture of emotions pervading the room, and took his seat for the presentation: “Artificial Intelligence Unit 48: re-assignment of bodies”. The following Friday, meeting the deadline, the project, and Anthony with it, came to an end.