Sisyphus & Allergies

Last year I read The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. I don’t remember much about the first half of the essay (other than rolling my eyes at how wordy Camus was), but I do often think back to the myth & Camus’s interpretation.

The story of Sisyphus comes from greek mythology: Sisyphus cheats death (twice) and is punished to a fate of rolling a boulder up a hill for eternity. As soon as he reaches the top, the boulder rolls back down and Sisyphus must push it up once more.

I often feel that my allergies are similar to Sisyphus’s rock (a meaningless burden*), and my day to day life is similar to Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill (torturous, with no end in sight).

Camus’s interpretation of the myth brings me hope and lightness in the face of the burden. Camus says that “happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth.” (pg 96), and therefore that “one must imagine Sisyphus happy” (pg 97). Essentially: happiness and pointlessness go hand in hand. If one exists, so does the other.

I read The Myth right after reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (a book that is very near and dear to my heart), and from MSfM I took away a very similar message: life has no prescribed meaning, so we must each create our own.

When I’m having a rough day, I like to remind myself that I am in control of creating my own meaning. Although the allergies and allergic reactions feel extremely pointless, my journey is (for the most part) a happy one. As Camus points out: although Sisyphus is stuck in a never-ending cycle, it does not mean he is in never-ending misery. My tough times will pass, as happiness coexists with absurdity.

TLDR: My allergies may be ever-present, but I create my own meaning and happiness.

*I recognize that I (and others who have allergies) are not burdens. It is the allergies themselves which are burdensome to my life.

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