I Think I’ve Checked Out. I Think

I have spent the last 10 days in some kind of haze, a mist that left me ambient and confused, ambivalent and docile. I am not sure what has caused it. Possibly the upcoming events and my feelings towards it and the general future or the recent past which no doubt will soon seem like a distant time. I am not asking for sympathy or help. I’m not feeling listless or incapable. I just have an inert feeling. I’m unworried but uncaring concerned for my near future or what I’m leaving behind. I should be excited but I really am not.
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I leave Qatar next week after 18 months. I’m going to Russia and then Serbia and Slovenia. I’ll be seeing people I miss and care about. It should be a joyous time but it feels like I am hearing someone else talk about it. I’m one of those friends who never left now, sitting in a bar with that recently returned friend who tells you all those adventures. You remain enthusiastic for as long as possible but soon fatigue runs over you and you stop smiling, caring and listening. I am that person to myself. Have I done this too long?

This soon-to-be past in Qatar, or the time spent in general, have been a fortunate time for me. I’ve earn and learnt, honed some skills and diversified my knowledge. I have learnt little of the language but I hope plenty more about the culture within the Gulf, the Arabic world in general and the interlocking relationships between the states and their people. This broad brotherhood (or umma) is a whole other, ancient civilisation founded on one lingua franca and one religion and yet within this broad diaspora there are vast difference histories, ethnicities and political goals. The mess in the Middle East tell us of the depth of said differences. However this gulf in my (and I think the West’s) knowledge of the Muslim world has narrowed. For that I am greatly appreciative.

And yet despite such learning, such difference, and the great holidays I’ve had along the way, I don’t quite feel happy about it. I can’t say I am unhappy. It has no impactful feeling. I’m leaving little behind. A period of my life is coming to an end and yet I can’t define anything tangible to cherish. The future, a mere 10 days away seems like another Earth in a parallel universe visible in my imagination yet dulled by time and dust. How I reach it I am not sure. It doesn’t feel like it exists right now except in my dusty reaches.

I’m writing this at 2:02am. I can’t sleep, a bad habit that’s formed in these recent days. My mind is occupied but I can’t tell you what by. Tiredness captures and steal me away but never to restful sleep but slumber. I suppose all will become clear soon. I hope so and know so. I really don’t know where I am. Maybe these coming days will help but I know I need a mind clear-out. That spring clean is a mental exercise. I’ve already left. Mentally I’ve checked out even if I’ve yet to leave those a note. Those days are over now. With it, some of the haze lifts and I can spot some roads to the horizon again.

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