Have you ever heard about the greek myth of Sisyphus? A guy who is damned to push a huge boulder to the top of a mountain. Every time he’s about to hit the peak, it falls down and he has to restart. Among greeks (and for centuries) it was known as an unfruitful task, since he could never get to the top, he never got anything out of it.
Now you may ask “why am I bringing up such a dispiriting persona of greek mythology when I can be talking about Athena, Hades, Areas and other cool mainstream gods everyone knows solely due to Percy Jackson series.”
Because lately, I’ve been feeling alot like sisyphus.
The whole of my last year (Junior year is now officially over) has been wild ride, and not a very amusing one. I don’t think twice when I say it has been the ‘most horrific’ year my life, even worse than middle school, and that’s saying something! However, I feel it has really transformed me. I was in a really bad place 4 months ago. But from that endeavor I have turned myself into something better. Version 2.0 of myself, others would say. Much more driven, fitter, productive, and goal-oriented. But even with all of my “accomplishments” I sometimes feel unhappy. I ended up taking up this mind set where if I completed a goal, I am not happy with it. I am not happy with myself because instead I am looking at the next goal. For example, if I finally got myself to be x amount of marks, I am not happy because now I want new goal of getting x + y more marks and that I haven’t reached. And this train of thoughts is discouraging in its own way!! To the people outside looking at me, they think the changes that I have made are great. They think I’m better than when I was down 4 months ago. But in my head, “Yeah maybe a little better but in the end, I am still not the best”. And ‘oh my god’ do these thoughts drain me out, physically and mentally. Now that i’m done with my exams, I sleep till 10.30 am and still wake up tired. It’s almost like my brain is trying to tell me “Listen, Sanna i’m tired of all thoughts, just give me a break.” I feel like a wind-up toy, whose spring has been rotated to the extreme but isn’t being let go.
So here’s a question I ask myself, out loud for the very first time, “Is happiness actually a stipulated destination?” or am I just draining myself out unnecessarily. I think having new goals is healthy and good. But happiness is not a destination, it’s a passing acquaintance. If you’re way too obsessed about your future and don’t look at your surroundings, life will pass by in a moment and you’ll have nothing left of it. However, my mind is just cannot take in this idea. So the existential crisis continues.
You know, French philosopher Albert Camus was the first one to suggest we should see Sisyphus as a happy man. Basically, he has a task and he enjoys performing it. Even if he can’t reach the mountaintop, he draws joy from the journey, not only the achievement. Only if we could accept this reality.
“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain. One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself, forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” – Albus Camus
So, I guess, in a way I’m happy too. I just don’t see it that way.