So here’s the thing: “Life is hard, then you die.”
That “joke” has been around a while. Circa 1983, I worked at a wine and cheese shop here in Portland that sold a t-shirt with an early variant of that saying: Life is too short to drink bad wine. So to complain about life being hard is kind of pointless.
But life is hard. It’s purely horrible for some people, and it’s unfair for many, and some get to have a lot of wealth and toys and good stuff they don’t really deserve (not that much of it). But for almost everyone, life is hard.
And, of course, we all die.
The trouble with “life is hard” is that, for a lot of us, we ourselves are the reason our life is hard. We make poor choices, have bad attitudes, refuse to acknowledge reality, etc. We could make life a lot less hard by being smarter or seeking mental health care or simply going for a walk every day. For a lot of us, our lives don’t necessarily have to be hard.
I am one of those people. I have it within myself to make my life not so hard. This is a true fact. Another true fact is that I am not trying to make my life hard; I am not not trying, either. As someone who has lived with mental health issues nearly my entire life, it’s not enough to say I could make my life less hard. I have a shit-ton of stuff to work through in order to make my life not-hard.
There is no easy way to make that happen, and it’s frustrating at times. I can envision living a life that is fulfilling, fun, and possibly profitable – but I also know I cannot wish myself into that life. I have to take steps in that direction every day. Each day, I have to do the things that will, in time, add up and allow me to live the life I long to live.
Which isn’t to say that one day, if I do things right, my life won’t be hard. But it could be a lot more fulfilling. It could be a lot more fun. It could have some better short-term outcomes. The point isn’t to look for life that isn’t hard; it’s to live my life each day as best I can to make that day turn out well. That is all I can do.
And die, of course. I am going to die. O welp.