Although the world continues to seem topsy turvy at best, the rain this week signalled some normality as seasons and their expected weather patterns set in.
A rush to find something warm and waterproof precedes my perpetual rush to work on Monday.
A few gloomy thoughts cross my mind as I hastily approach the intersection of Louis Fourie Road and Melkhout Street. Cautious and slightly irritated, I slow down as pedestrians bustle to cross, ignorant of the demarcated areas to do so safely.
Same old, same old every day, a begrudging thought pops up. A young man wrapped in only a blanket for warmth, still in pyjama pants, steps in front of my car. I brake hard. He glares at me accusingly.
I drive on and accelerate to catch the green traffic light. As I turn, a young boy, probably around 11 years old, races across Louis Fourie Road. He wears no shoes. The water splashes as his bare feet hit the tarmac. Why is he unaccompanied and not in school at this time of the morning?
Blaring on my radio is the artist P!nk's new song featuring Khalid, Hurts 2B Human. It plagues my conscience more than I would like to allow it.
As the song fades while I drive on, the less the previous scenes seem to be my problem. Parking close to work, but not close enough not to get wet in the rain, I grab my customary work luggage - a standard load of four bags. The rain hits my face. I bemoan not having the foreign luxury of travelling light.
Dashing around the corner, my pace is slackened by two seeming homeless men blocking most of the available pavement and cover overhead as they saunter along. They must have sensed my haste and decoded it as animosity. "Sorry ma'am … sorry," they scurry out of my way, allowing me to pass. I don't think I said thank you.
This week, it was reported that burn-out has been added to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) International Classification of Diseases. From 2020, it will become a globally-recognised medical condition. The WHO defines burn-out as "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed".
According to the classification, the WHO refers to feelings associated with burn-out as something specific to the workplace. They state that burn-out should not be applied to describe symptoms caused by other life situations.
Writer Anne Helen Peterson's Buzzfeed article, titled How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, went viral in January 2019. Unlike the WHO, Peterson credits areas outside of the workplace to cause burnout.
I tend to agree. She says burn-out is the "the millennial condition" and continues: "It's our base temperature. It's our background music. It's the way things are. It's our lives."
I have that temperature. I hear the music in the background and it's P!nk belting out "…it hurts to be human…"
In fanning the flames of my burnout though, how much more harm am I not doing seering those in my path? Or worse, debilitating them with my backdraft?