What a struggle life is. Bills, relationships, commutes. Erectile disfunction, vaginal dryness, venerial disease. Death. At least death ends the struggles, but even learning to deal with the idea of death is itself a struggle.
We’re all just flailing through life trying not to die, trying to be happy, but blind as bats and without the sonar. We don’t even know why we’re even here in the first place, and are further cursed by the capacity to wonder thusly, unlike the bats. WHAT’S THE POINT!? It seems so random, and we’re so small and insignificant in one sense, but things seem so real and important in every other sense.
Our own personal struggles compose our entire realities and it’s easy to forget that every other person, every other living being on this planet is going through his own struggles, most of which we can’t understand because we haven’t experienced them ourselves. Do you know what it’s like to struggle for clean drinking water that won’t kill you, or worse, make you pee out of your butt? I don’t, although unfortunately, I know what it’s like to drink bad water that makes me pee out of my butt.
We’re jealous of the beautiful hairdresser who smiles her way through the workday, but behind that pretty smile is a ball of stress oscillating close to the speed of light from the back of her forehead to the tips of her pedicured toenails. She’s a single mother, and while her elder daughter received a full scholarship to college – a grand victory for the family – in the first semester she got a 2.8 GPA in spite of her stellar grades in high school. She will need a 3.2 GPA to keep her scholarship, meaning she has to take a summer course which isn’t covered by the scholarship and costs $1,400.00, the equivalent of more than 900 (store-bought) beers.
The homeless man pushes the shopping cart containing his every possession (mostly cans) down the road during rush hour, causing a traffic backup of angry drivers, but he doesn’t know or care because he’s struggling to keep his long, dirty hair out of his face and has such limited mental capacity that he can’t figure out a way to prevent it from continually obscuring his field of view other than to cock his head backward and forward and to the sides every three seconds. His struggles are much different from ours.
That asshole sparrow who keeps littering the lawn with costly bird seed because he’s in a rush to grab a few before the aggressive robin attacks him even though the robin only eats worms from the grass and doesn’t frequent the bird feeder. But the asshole sparrow is just trying his best to feed himself before his imminent attack, completely unable to grasp the idea of money or the fact that I am the one spending the money to feed him and his compadres. And the asshole robin is in a state of despair she can’t even comprehend because the nest she spent many days building, containing the beautiful blue eggs she so lovingly incubated, just fell apart. Her eggs, her reason for living, just went splat on the forest floor beneath her, so the sparrow suffers, and I suffer. If only the robin had intertwined a few extra reeds in her nest we could have avoided the whole situation.
The daisy trying to grow in the crack in the sidewalk. She has a struggle no one cares about. Although she can’t physically move away from danger or drought conditions, she is a biochemical genius who can change her internal chemistry to survive almost any external conditions. She, like every other living thing, is just doing her part so Earth can go on. She is made of atoms that were formerly parts of cars and people and animals, and we are made of atoms that were formerly parts of other people and animals and plants and rocks and streams and poops, and all of those atoms emerged from the centers of giant, exploding stars.
I wonder if atoms struggle. They probably just enjoy the ride of being tiny but necessary parts of different physical manifestations, and possibly other-dimensional manifestations. In that way we’re not all that different from atoms, although maybe we should strive to be more like them.
And then there are people who have perfect lives by all accounts but are pissed off and treat others poorly. I knew someone like that. A life of excessive ease is a struggle in itself – one we say we wish we had, but one we can’t understand and probably wouldn’t want if we actually found ourselves in it.
Everyone is struggling in his own way. You’re not the only one.
You are not the only one.
Life will always be a struggle. Birth was a total shock, death will probably be scary as hell, and most things in between are some variation or mixture of shock and scariness. When we accept that life will always be a struggle, that things will never be perfect, it makes it easier to take things in stride. It’s freeing.
So let’s embrace the struggles, the sadness, the hate, and soak ourselves in it. It’s not bad unless we see it as bad. Nothing is. It will always be there, and thinking that maybe we can get rid of all the bad stuff will only make life even more of a struggle. Let’s take a step back from it all then jump in head first and take an icy cold or seething hot bath (depending on which variety of struggle we dive into). When we get good at it we can concoct the perfect struggle of nice, warm water and relax in it. Some like the water hotter than others.
Anyway, we always emerge victorious in the end when our final lights flicker then fade into darkness and silence. When we pass through to the unknown, to the wider reality incomprehensible to our current selves, we’ll look back and be grateful for each struggle we experienced. Each one is a tiny part of who we are, and who we are, as personalities, consciousnesses, is pretty incredible.
And if we look back and what we see is in no way incredible, at least there’s next time. There will always be a next time.