I am sitting on the train watching the surroundings transition from suburb after suburb until it reaches the city. I am sitting on the same window seat I do every morning when I catch the 6:51 am train from my departing station. I have the train memorized. I have the schedule memorized. I even know the exact spots to stand on the platform so the train doors open in front of me. My life has become that predictable.
I am sitting on the train watching my fellow commuters. There are very few new faces. The majority of commuters are familiar strangers. I do not know their exact life stories but synchronized routines have made us acquaintances. There’s the kid dressed in a uniform off to private school. There’s the old man who snores on top of his newspaper. There’s the nurse in scrubs off about to begin a 12-hour shift. There’s the group of international students off to college. There’s the ensemble of business folks with distraught faces dreading the day ahead and desperately awaiting their morning coffee.
I guess I would be synonymous to the last group. I am dressed in a similar fashion. I match the etiquette of my Pinterest board for business attire. I am the epitome of a polished adult or the perception at least.
I have four – almost five – years of experience now, experience at pretending to be an adult, whatever that means. I joined the exciting world of being a working professional at 22 years old in the traditional sense. Of course, we all begin work at younger ages but we don’t speak of those salad days anymore. They are a distant memory. Youth is slowly fading into oblivion.
I noticed my first greys this past year too. At first, I searched the internet for solutions. I found an array of claims to reverse those pesky hairs. Eat this vitamin, drink this questionable superfood concoction, or you know simply dye your hair. But what started off as enthusiasm to fight the signs of aging quickly retreated into laziness. I was too fatigued by the act of growing up to bother battling it. I let the grey exist, I settled for the status quo – the hallmark of every adult move.
Eventually, the train arrives at my intended destination. I didn’t even notice it. One minute I boarded and now I am getting off. The cliché is true. Train rides are just like life – it all is just fleeting. The walk to work is no different. One minute, I am at the platform being squished by other caffeine-deprived folks rushing to work and in the next minute, I am riding the elevator in my office building. How did I get here? I have no idea. The walk between these two locations is a blur.
Work goes by. What do I do exactly? It doesn’t really matter. None of it really does. A generation in search of fulfillment and purpose is settling like the generations before. Financial insecurity and greater inequalities force greater sacrifices. We do more and get less in return. It’s the millennial way I guess.
Hours pass. I do some things, seemingly important things – emails, decks, reports and such. I take the required breaks and engage in the required small talk with colleagues. More hours pass until finally it is the end. One minute I am at my desk and then I am at the train platform, the memory of the walk again evades me. I enter the train at the usual departing time and find my usual seat. I look around and see the familiar faces from the morning commute. It’s all the same, it’s always the same. This is the art of being a working adult where you exist in a monotonous world and the days are never distinct.