Life was never meant to be a struggle.

In a world where the “struggle is real” and people are aboard the “struggle bus” more often than they drive their cars, it’s easy to fall in a rut with the rest of “struggling” humanity. But are we really?

Truth be told, I, too, am struggling with this whole “struggling” thing. More days than not, some of the first words I think/say/text involve some conjugation of the word combined with a series of wide-eyed smiley faces and about 17 coffee emojis. I’ve been “struggling” about as long as I can remember, but I’m not positive I really remember why. As a society, how did we get so attached to the struggle, what does it even mean, how did it get so “real”?

A week or two ago, I was out on a trail communing with nature and pondering all the areas I’m “struggling” in (oh, let me count the ways) when, somewhere between reprimanding myself for hitting snooze 12 times and fully regretting skipping half of last week’s workouts, I stopped dead in my tracks. For there, right in front of me, on the same trail I’ve run hundreds of times, was a sign from the universe that I need to cool it with this struggle nonsense.

The sign read “Life was never meant to be a struggle, just a gentle progression from one point to another, much like walking through a valley on a sunny day.”


Weird. That definitely hit home.

We live in a world where “struggling” has become a competition. If I’m “struggling” because I accidentally ate my entire lunch before lunchtime and spilled coffee in a meeting, but my co-worker is “struggling” because she barely slept the night before and has her shirt on backward, for whom is the “struggle” more real?

The sign in the park taught me a couple of things. Mainly, that life is meant to be lived and appreciated. Struggling and thinking about struggling and beating yourself up for struggling isn’t living. It’s sad and it’s depressing. Secondly, struggling is part of living and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. That’s the cold, hard truth and the sooner we realize it, and start appreciating living for what it is, the better. Don’t beat yourself up so much, the struggle isn’t THAT real.

Next time you’re on a struggle submarine gunning for the bottom of the ocean, try jumping ship. There’s life to be lived, after all.