There are days I wake up and feel like Sisyphus.
Do you know who I mean?
Sisyphus was an ancient mythological figure punished for all eternity to roll a boulder up a steep mountain, only to have it roll back down to the bottom when he reaches the top. Albert Camus called him an absurd hero; he struggled perpetually and without any hope of success.
That describes me on some days. Broken promises, lack of perceived ‘progress’, low bank accounts and good old self doubt are my boulder. I struggle daily to push it forward and upward, only to watch it roll back at day’s end. In the reality of my profession, the boulder is mine. I am aided and supported by an amazing set of friends and family, but the responsibility is on my shoulders. Sometimes this burden is crushing.
When times like this occur, I stop and breathe. I count my blessings and I look at my situation from a different attitude. Picture Sisyphus smiling.
The idea is so simple: here is Sisyphus, the wretch, interminably pushing his boulder up the hill, watching it roll down and repeating. In my mind he was always completely defeated, hopeless. And then, as I read Camus’ book on the ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, everything about the picture changed. Imagining Sisyphus smiling, embracing his situation as his reality, not wanting a different past or a different future, but accepting the present, the scene totally rearranged itself. He was no longer hopeless, but happy in his acceptance of the situation.
He must, in order to accept the absurdity of the situation, adjust his attitude and fulfill what has been put before him.
On the road to your dreams, there are certain absurd truths you must acknowledge. You must work as hard and as tirelessly as you can. There is no guarantee of success, but the burden and the struggle contain a successful measure of their own. To simply be doing what you love, and to master it, may be enough. Our ultimate fate is all the same, so why be miserable? Live your passion in the task at hand, and find satisfaction in your minor successes and your crushing failures.
Like Sisyphus, some see no other option than the mountain and the rock. Burdened with obligations, lack of control, hopelessness, low expectations and no alternatives, they continue to toil in dead-end jobs and uninspiring environments.
You, however, can see opportunity in obligation, freedom in failure and hope in hopelessness. You are unique, as are your burdens. Keep shouldering on, and be thankful for the journey.