Happy Sisyphus

“One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” ~ Albert Camus

I feel the tight squeeze of inadequacy quite often— not for myself as an individual, but for myself as a parent. What I can provide for my children might be enough if we lived somewhere else, but in the somewhat affluent area in which we reside I can never work enough to give my children what their friends have. I try to compensate for my salary challenged employment, and my single parenthood, by being two people. I work two schedules, I mow my lawn, shovel snow off my driveway, cook, clean, shop, attempt my own home repairs… I do everything. I still don’t measure up.

Greek Mythological King Sisyphus was condemned to repeat throughout eternity, the same futile task of pushing a bolder up a slope on Mount Olympus, only to have it slip back down to the base each time he came near the top, so he must start again. This was his punishment for a lifetime of trickery… an eternity of mindless labor that accomplishes nothing. 

What was my crime? I do share a few commonalities with Sisyphus, the condemned rock pusher: 

  • I am also of Greek descent, 
  • Sisyphus was accused of levity in regard to the Gods, likewise, I have had my share of inappropriate jocularity. 
  • Like my ancestor, I too have been damned to repetitious mindless exhausting work that finds me in the same place at the end of the day, week, month, year, etc. 

As Camus must imagine Sisyphus happy, I must imagine myself happy. I see the futility of hoping for an improved future, and since, I have come to understand that I must own and embrace my rock. 
Why does Albert Camus believe Sisyphus must be happy? He asserts that Sisyphus must, like me, eventually realize the absurdity of his situation, and that knowledge is freeing. I also am comforted knowing that while I push my rock, Sisyphus still pushes his.


The Daily Post, August 20, 2015, Daily Prompt: West End Girls~ Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/west-end-girls/”>West End Girls</a><a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/west-end-girls/”>West End Girls</a>

6 thoughts on “Happy Sisyphus

  1. You have no idea how much I sympathise! The trouble is you’re too good at being all things to all people, doing what needs to be done and dealing with the bucketloads of s**t dropped from above, so it doesn’t occur to anyone that you’d really like to fall in a heap and scream ENOUGH!
    As for loving the rock – imo, this is a piece of (what would now be called New Age) schmaltzy positivity disseminated by those whose rock is pebble-sized.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s