Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sisyphus and Saturdays

Saturdays used to be days for lying around; listening to music, taking walks, reading, watching tv--you know: leisure activities. Leisure is the illusion of youth, though. It's one of those gifts our parents give us while they shoulder all of the responsibility.

Now that I'm a mom and a professional and a full-time worrier, Saturdays don't bring leisure, but I still love them. It's not that I can just sit around when I have chore lists every week, but the difference between weekdays and Saturdays is that I am in charge. There is a certain relief in being able to direct my own actions, to choose to put my nose to the grindstone, rather than be told to do so.

In "The Myth of Sisyphus," Albert Camus argues that even Sisyphus can be happy, despite what seems like a horrifying punishment: to push a giant boulder up a mountain only to have it fall down the other side, where he must muscle it back up again, again, again, ad infinitum. This is his fate in the Underworld.

But Camus, an existentialist, believed that happiness could be found in the notion of personal responsibility. He wrote, "The struggle enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

I am not an existentialist, but I see the merit in Camus' argument that one can find happiness in one's tasks by merely embracing them--by claiming them. So I shall claim all of my tasks today, from the lawn mowing to the grocery shopping to the reading and writing. And one can imagine me happy, too. :)

art link here.

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