“Life is getting me down.”
“Frustrated with life”
“My life sucks.” And so on. I hear it all the time and I use similar phrases.
Recently I tried something different with my regard of this word ‘life’ and I capitalized it, to ‘Life’, to make it a noun, a real thing, or sometimes I added a ® to make it a brand of some kind.
If I was going to talk about ‘Life’ as a thing that was ‘getting me down’ or treating me badly, then I was going to reference it as such, in my mind, or on paper. In doing so, I saw the absurdity of my statements.
In humanizing it (more obvious when made into a noun) I was attempting to find a perpetrator for my problems, something, or someone to blame. As if Life is a mysterious yet malicious force that is out to get me. The problems I was bundling up into the term ‘life’ were a series of small problems, but more often than that the source of the problems lay within me, issues I didn’t want to face and therefore had become externalized. For an atheist such as myself, I had allowed a remarkably superstitious element to pervade my thinking.
I realized that what I’d been doing was separating this ‘Life’ away from myself, like I was having a relationship with it, like it was some ethereal thing that wanted to make my time hell. I get frustrated with Puck, my cat, and we grumble at each other. I get annoyed at ‘Life’ and I treat it the same way. Strange, because ‘life’ as I’m referring to it doesn’t exist. It’s a word co-opted by us humans to describe the sum of all experiences up this point, nothing more. It’s not a force for good, or bad. It just is.
The danger when treating it like a perpetrator is that it’s too convenient to disregard the constituent problems or issues that are making up the general feeling of frustration. If those component problems are broken down, they can be solved, fixed, or accepted. As long as they remain in the form of this quasi-parent-like form that doles out punishment, deliberately makes our time difficult, it remains something we can’t deal with. And maybe that’s why I use the phrase ‘Life is a being a shit right now’ so I don’t have to handle it – perhaps it’s a coping function, the equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears, ignoring the problems until they ‘go away’. Yeah, right.
So, yes, I’m really frustrated with Life ® right now. What a big old meany, eh?