I want life to be succulent. It want it to be like something juicy dripping down my chin. Life should be like a sweet mango, like strawberries in peak season or the salty, delicious burst of soup in a xiao long bao dumpling. We live in a culture that’s saturated with easy pleasures. So, why is it so difficult to feel alive?
Our world is set up for everything to be a click away, delivered to your door and every sense, market researched, innovated and algorithm-advertised to you. Yet, with all this customisation, you wake up and realise that life has lost thrill. It’s become a sort of tolerating.
You go from busy to busy, commuting, problem solving, caring, running errands, doing chores. You hang out for a holiday, the weekend, or at least the moment you can close door to the world and put down the mantle of all the titles you carried that day, the visible and invisible ones.
Then you open your eyes, pick up your titles, and keep going.
How did our immensely privileged existence come to this?
In a world of pleasures, we’re weirdly trained not to take pleasure in things. Zombie delights of junk food, alcohol, binge watching and scrolling are acceptable, but they’re more like compensations for our strung out, time poor existence. Living pleasures of food, sex, art, meaningful conversation and stillness are considered indulgent and sources of guilt and anxiety because we think we have to perform them. We go on diets, punish and hide our bodies, present our lives polished beyond recognition and pose instead of just being in our bodies and our breath and our feelings, where ALL the succulence is.
Enjoyment is for some future date when we’re accomplished or beautiful enough to truly inhabit paradise or we have the right someone to share paradise with.
Meanwhile, we keep on doing until we simply can’t, and then we zombie. Who has time to be any other way?
The real kicker is this. We portray our succulence to one another on social media, all the while thirsting for each other’s mirages in the desert.
For me, life’s succulence is proportionate to how open my heart is and how curious my mind. Life doesn’t get less succulent over time. It’s always there, delicious and inviting.
When I feel this way, it’s because I’ve shut down. I’ve closed my senses, turned away and convinced myself that whatever this little, lacklustre box I’ve found myself in is all there is now.
The way through is inward and outward. It’s examining what uncomfortable truth I’ve been hiding from. What have I long outgrown but still cling to for fear of change? It’s to invite randomness; do something outside the pattern that gives people the opportunity to respond outside theirs, in new and interesting ways.
Where there is work, there should be growth and reward. Where there is grief, there should be meaning and the opportunity to connect. Weaved around these are beauty, utter nonsense and the reverent act of discovering more about yourself, each other and the world. Here be succulence.
It’s time for me to open up again to the unknown. Not to chaos, hopefully, but to serendipity, opportunity and, perhaps, a little bit of mischief.
“Time well spent leads to life well lived.” Martin Uzochukwu Ugwu