Find Beauty amid the Grind

The alarm clock rings. You begrudgingly wake up, fix your face and put on your work clothes. You have just enough time to down a cup of coffee and a quick bite then you are out to door. You perform your labor for 8 hours or so (depending on your job). You come home, collapse and try to unwind. You try to squeeze in gym time, do some laundry and hopefully chill with a friend.

Does this sound familiar? It is the routine many people find themselves in. Is what many call the “daily grind” really worth it? Is it grinding you down to nothing? Let’s place some hope back into what seems to be a hopeless situation.

Being October is Depression Awareness Month, I was thinking a lot about what makes people (including myself) depressed? Feeling caught into a seemingly meaningless existence can definitely be a cause. I know it has for me.

In “Experiences of depression: Theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives” by Dr. Sidney J. Blatt, he explores two subset of depression. These are anaclitic depression, which is characterized by feelings of loneliness and abandonment and introjective depression, stemming from feelings of failure and worthlessness. The anthology of work on this subject by Dr. Blatt can really give us some insight into what drags us down in melancholy’s depths.

How does work and routine life tie into this? Good question. The answer is that when you define your whole being into your daily schedule and what you do, it can be dangerous if you don’t enjoy what you are doing. The point I want to make is that just because you may not think or feel what you are doing is worthwhile, that does not mean it is unimportant on a grander scale. That also means you should not let either type of depression take hold with its deception.

We can feel lonely or abandoned when we think what we do doesn’t matter and that we therefor don’t matter. No one sees us or cares. We can also feel like a failure or worthless when we share this sentiment. This is not the case for any of us, life is inherently valuable and hopeful for these reasons:

  • Life is intentional, not accidental — your worldview will affect how you see this. According to my theistic approach and to scientific evidence available, life does not happen by chance. Planet earth is made to cradle life. For a person to be conceived, a myriad of conditions have to go right. Life is not an accident, you are not an accident.
  • Life is fragile, yet resilient — Life can be taken away at a moment’s notice. People also use their lives to accomplish incredible feats and overcome great odds. Jewish people circa WW II survived concentration camps. Philanthropists rise to wealth with just a great idea and an undying drive. Even in the face of all that goes wrong, so many individuals find ways to do what is right.
  • Life can change — “Change is the one constant of life.” That can be for the better or worse at times. However, keep in mind that whatever is happening, it is bound to not be so in the future.

Your work as a teacher, waiter or physician may be such a grind. Taking care of your kids and being there for your spouse or significant other may get really hard. That toil is not in vain. Your work impacts and influences people who work around you, with you and for you each day whether you recognize it or not. Your spouse and your kids are growing to be better people who will in turn make life better for others because of the everyday things you do.

The everyday is extraordinary when you move through the lies culture can feed us with false advertisements. Each person has had sorrows, disappointments and mistakes in their life, such is the human condition. You are not alone or less than your counterparts. What you must decide is if living according to the rules depression sets is the best it can get. My answer to that is a resounding “no,” and I encourage you to find your reasons to say the same.

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”      ~ Henry David Thoreau

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