It is the end of the Thursday work day. I have been back in the open for the third full day now; sad to say, I have yet to completely acclimatise to the new environment.

I missed my ivory tower. Left alone most of the time to concentrate on my work, my mind became singularly focused on a task at any one time. My sense of hearing took a back seat as I only had music as background noise. When the concentration became too intense for too long, I only had to swivel my chair to face the window and I would then feast my eyes on the scenery to recollect my thoughts, or simply blank out for a while before continuing.

Now, at my new work station however, my senses of sight and hearing are greatly heightened; stimuli continually bombard them, throwing me into moments of distraction.

I hear someone speaking to my left, right, in front of, or behind me as the sound waves hit me from any direction. Who could it be? I have my answer as I connect the voice to the image of the colleague in my mind. Who just cast a moving image as he/she walks past, from the left or right, into my field of vision? Again, I have my answer as recognition dawns.

Tapping of the keys on the keyboard, footsteps, voices, they still manage to float into my ear canals even though I’m perpetually plugged into music. Colours, movement or a change in the air movement. My concentration is momentarily and continually broken as I try to decipher all these unfamiliar stimuli and recognise each and every one of them. My curiosity keeps popping its head out of the bag and I do nothing to stuff it back. People stopping to say hi, and I switch to my sociable self and make small talk. Back to my work. Everything repeats.

Occasionally, I prick my ears up or look up from my work as I hear and see things that are figments of my over-active imagination and over-stimulated senses. I jumped in my seat when I thought I heard a loud shout behind me on Tuesday afternoon, only to provide my colleagues with entertainment as they laughed at my (over) reaction.

By 10 in the morning, I start to think of replenishing the caffeine coursing through my blood. By 3 in the afternoon, my eyes feel gritty and my head is heavy. I start to rub my temples and between my eyes more frequently. I start to process more sluggishly in my mind, look through my work a couple more times, and my productivity dips. Images of aromatic coffee or my bed (or both!) start to invade my mind, and I groan inwardly. This is more difficult than I think.

I am mentally exhausted by the time I reach home, only to have my senses bombarded once more by my 2 lovely monkeys. I need to keep up with my mental fitness; I have been blessed with peace for too long. Perhaps I need to take a leaf from the Man of Steel, to learn to focus my senses on only 1 thing at a time, when “the world is too big”. Perhaps I will learn to be desensitised to my surroundings soon, and enclose myself in a mental web of serenity. May the day come soon, for too much caffeine causes me insomnia at night…


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