Why We Strive


Something is driving you. This something is not something you can shape into intelligible words for friends or family, or even yourself, but it’s there. Not a hackneyed fire burning in your belly or a tick in your mind, because fires can be put out, ticks removed. This something is some constant force of nature, a strange inertia that works not just forward but upward, pulling and poking and prodding. This something defines you, even as you struggle to define this something.

You are not always fully aware of it. Often there is doubt, as you recognize the possibility of failure. Sometimes there is failure outright, with its bedfellow despair squarely in tow. In these moments you are reminded that the inspirational quotes are crock, that you don’t feel determination to rise again, stronger and faster and better. If anything you feel a desperation to put distance between yourself and your weakness, recede into the shadows away from your own damning stare. These moments where the story books would have you believe the something should come roaring in elicits merely a nudge and a grunt. You keep moving forward uncertainly, almost unwilling.

But always out of the darkness of doubt, from the drudgery of grating routine, it emerges. Like a current rising from the ground, your veins conduits of some ancient, earthly force, it surges through your body and mind, and with a feeling of singular clarity, doubt is demolished. Fear is forgotten. It bellows encouragement from the heights of your future accomplishment, and you know this path is true, and honest, and right. This, it sings out, is living!

It lasts a moment, two, maybe more. The physical shock of it begins to recede, as your mind desperately tries to keep hold of its essence. You want somehow to bottle it up, to have in reserve for moments of struggle. Yet you know that its unpredictability augments its force, that the intervals in between these moments are ultimately what lend them their power. So you grudgingly let it go, content to revel in its memory and to anticipate its return.

Why do we strive? The approval of parents, the love of another, the gain of power. Or so we say. Yet these are but facades for the truth, hiding that something within us all. We strive to stand on mountains and yell and sing with that something. We strive for that feeling that keeps us striving, determination on recursion. We strive for that feeling that lets us say: I am alive. I am true. I am honest. I am right.

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