It’s the last Monday in January, and most people have given up their New Years resolutions by now.
It’s disappointing when you work hard at something and you don’t see much return for your effort. Whether it’s losing weight, saving money or writing, sometimes it feels like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall. It can be tempting to give up rather than continue on a path that doesn’t yield any results.
Recently I’ve been finding life a struggle. I am very fortunate to have so many wonderful things in my life, but I have a bad habit of concentrating on the things I’m not happy with. There’s always something I want to improve with my health and fitness, my writing, my personal life, my animals, and it’s a struggle I’ve been fighting against my whole life. At the moment it feels like the pain of giving up and sliding into chaos seems easier to bear than the pain of continuing to fight to better myself.
Recently I watched the 2002 version of ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. At one point the protagonist, Edmond Dantes, is falsely accused and locked up in the hideous island prison, Chateau d’If. After six years of solitary confinement in a tiny cell, his only interaction with his jailers being a beating every year on the anniversary of his imprisonment, another prisoner burrows into Edmond’s cell by mistake. This new character is Abbe Faria who has been imprisoned for eleven years and has been digging an escape tunnel – in the wrong direction. Edmond and the Abbe join forces to dig a new tunnel in the right direction. When the Abbe estimates it will take them seven years of digging, Edmond groans, to which the Abbe responds ‘have you something else to do?’
In one way, life is a sentence to a cell in Chateau d’If for all of us. We can sit in our cell, carving slogans into the walls and wishing for things to improve or we can dig a tunnel, knowing that it will take us years before we see any results, and hope that we are going in the right direction. After all, what else have we to do?
What things are you struggling with at the moment? Are you keeping to your New Years resolutions, if you made any? Have you any advice to encourage people to keep going with something they find difficult? I’d love to read your replies in the comments.