The boring life of Brian
As a long-life habit, though it was Saturday, Brian woke up at five. It was still dark, and the room cold. Brian stayed in bed and reluctantly reviewed his dreary life. There wasn’t a single thing in his entire life to make him proud. He was fifty years old, married once, which last for only two years, with no offspring. Since then, he had lived alone for the last fifteen years. Brian worked as an accountant in an import and export company for the last half a century. It was his first job and was going to be his last. He didn’t like his arduous and tedious job, but it was paying his bills and rent. He knew nothing better. Who would give him a job at that age? If he lost his job, he would end unemployed and poor.
Brian knew well, he had low self-esteem. As long as he remembered, he was feeling shameful about who he was. He saw others successful and happy. He hated and envied them, but deep in his core, he belittled himself and didn’t believe he deserved a similar life. Brian knew he had a problem. He wasn’t happy and needed a significant change in his life.
His divorce had a negative impact on his mental health and forced him to see a shrink. Once, he told him, ‘Brian, you should follow your hobby.’ And when Brian said that he doesn’t have a hobby, the shrink responded, ‘You should find what your hobby is. Hobby creates purpose and meaning in life. Find what you really like and go for it.’
Brian listened to the shrink’s advice. He enjoyed going to the local museum exploring famous paintings. Therefore, he concluded drawing and oil painting was his long-lost hobby waiting for him to be discovered.
After work, Brian walked into the local art store, which was on his way home. In the last twenty years, he every day passed by the store without once walking inside. Brian hesitantly pushed the store’s large glass door open and walked in. It was a large shop full of art-related goods, rows after rows of colorful paints, shelves full of brushes in different shapes and sizes, papers, pens, and pencils. Brian was overwhelmed with the number of products and wondered where to start. Soon a store employer who noticed his bewilderment came to his help. ‘How can I help you, sir?’ She asked politely.
‘Um… honestly, I want to start oil painting from scratch.’ He said. ‘And, I am not sure what exactly I need?’
‘Sure, please follow me.’
The third aisle on his right was for oil painting. With the shop assistant’s help, he bought an oil paint set consist of 12 different color tubes, a canvas, a set of 10 brushes in different sizes, a palette, a bottle of paint thinner, and an easel, which the last was the most expensive item on his shopping list. His oil painting adventure lasted a week. Brian soon noticed he knew little about oil painting, and it wasn’t his lost hobby. He still had the easel and the half-painted canvas standing in the corner of his room, attracting dust.
Then he remembered his photography quest. Two years after his failed oil painting trial, Brian concluded his hobby was photography. He always envied photographers who took immaculate pictures for magazines. He pictured himself standing in a gallery explaining the concept behind each one of his photographs to a group of enthusiasts.
The same day Brian walked into the Camera House, a shop specialized in cameras and photography gear, just a block away from his apartment. He again found himself in a wonderland. The place was full of different cameras and photography gear. And Brian knew nothing about cameras and photography. A shopkeeper soon came to his aid. After a brief chat with the shopkeeper, presumably good at knowing cameras and photography, or he just was a good salesperson, Brian left the shop with a relatively expensive DSLR camera, a standard lens, a zoom telephoto lens, a tripod, an expensive memory card, and a camera cleaning set, in his hand.
Brian excitedly unpacked the camera soon after returning home and began reading the camera’s 200 pages manual. Ten minutes into reading, facing unfamiliar photographic jargons, and bored with dull and user-unfriendly instructions, he left the print on the table. He knew little about photography and wasn’t familiar with all those terminologies.
By the end of the week, he learned how to operate the camera at its basic level by just setting it on auto mode and let the camera’s inbuilt computer decide what was best to take a photo. On that fall day, Brian shot over a hundred photos on his trip to the local park. He shot photos from deciduous trees and their colorful canopies of leaves, the statues that lonely stood in that park for as long as he could remember, dogs, birds, but he was wary of taking pictures of people. He didn’t know how they would react. After all, he wasn’t looking for a problem.
Later that afternoon, Brian downloaded the images on his laptop and reviewed them in the comfort of his flat. There were too many images, precisely 180 frames, more than what he remembered he took. He didn’t feel patient enough to examine them one by one and just scanned them. He found only a few shots were better than his expectation, but a far cry from the images he had seen in the magazines. The rest were below the average. As an accountant and out of habit, he quickly calculated and found only 0.5 percent of his photos were above his anticipation, and only 10 percent were in the range of acceptable. The rest were photos that even himself, the photographer, wasn’t keen to look at them twice. After two more photography expeditions with similar statistics, Brian has left the camera in his closet and had never touched it again.
Then Brian remembered his stamp collecting and later coin collecting hobbies. Those also didn’t last long. They were expensive hobbies. He had both his stamp and coin albums somewhere in his flat.
Brian also bought a bicycle to ride around the city and be active. He even planned to ride to work and back. Soon, he tired of his bike too. It was in his apartment storage room now, rusting, and likely a frame for spiders to weave their webs.
While he was still in bed, he sadly thought about his failed hobbies. He was in search of a rational answer for his frequent failures. ‘Why I always fail? Do I have a hobby?’ Brian asked himself. ‘Do I have a mental issue?’ He didn’t have an answer to his question. ‘I think I don’t know what I really want.’ He said to himself. In fact, Brian was right, and he didn’t know what his real hobby was. Brian subconsciously believed by impersonating a successful individual, he would also become successful and happy like him. But the world didn’t work in that way.
‘I have to find what I really like.’ Brian told himself and left the bed, and after taking a quick shower and having a light breakfast, he headed toward the local library. He was a keen reader. Brian hadn’t recognized that his real hobby is reading.
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